100 Questions About Anime & Manga Overseas Special Issue: Fansubs and the Gloom of the Anime Industry - Part 3
Japanese anime news site AnimeAnime has released a 2-part follow-up to their previous report on fansubs and the anime industry." In Part 1 and Part 2, Romi (the writer) talked about the history and problems of fansubs. In Part 3, Romi (the writer) talks about the future of the anime industry, and why the companies are having a hard time dealing with fansubs.
Fansubs and the Gloom of the Anime Industry - Part 3
In 2006, rumors spread about anime distributor Central Park Media's bankruptcy (which did not happen). Also, a friend of mine was fired by a major anime distributor he worked for; he was involved with many well-known titles, so I was shocked. The fact that even major distributors need to dismiss its capable staffs proves that the anime industry is getting worse.
The cause is simple: the reduction of DVD sales is affecting the revenue of anime-related companies.
My friend who was fired by the major anime distributor told me about the effect of fansubs on the anime industry in North America and the reason behind the decline of the anime companies.
I think his opinion should be respected, and I found an article that can prove my friend's argument:
According to the report, "The fansubbers say they have a rule that licensed title can't be distributed; however, the Top 50 Anime Torrents chart contains Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Dragon Ball and The Vision of Escaflowne."
The Effect on Anime DVD Sales
I have mentioned three reasons other than fansubs that are responsible for the decline of anime DVD sales, now we'll go through them, one by one.
1. The Declining of All DVD Sales, Including Anime
Until now, DVD sales have always been increasing, but recently it's starting to change.
This article is more than one year old, BusinessWeek Online published this article because it's not only about anime DVD, as DVD sales, including anime, was already stalling more than a year ago.
ICv2 had an article about this in early 2005 as well
And the follow article predicts a grim future for the movie business in 2007:
"Analyst Sees DVD Sales Decline by 2007"
The DVD market is being flooded with over stocking; too many old and new titles are being sold. Consumers don't know what they should buy, and sellers tend to sell only the popular titles to avoid overstock and limited shelf space. The separation between popular and unpopular titles is progressing.
3. Anime DVDs are More Expensive than Other Mainstream Movies
Japanese people think that the DVD in the U.S is cheaper. However, the set price of anime DVDs is expensive, and it's hard to compete with Disney and others due to the number of copies being shipped.
For example, "The Incredibles" is priced at $20.99 (tax-excluded) on Disney's website. On Amazon.com, it's being sold at $29.99 -> $19.99. The difference in price is $8.89. DVDs are cheap in the U.S, especially at Costco and other discount stores. "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" costs $29.98 -> $26.99 (tax-excluded) on Amazon.com. On the other hand, "Full Metal Alchemist" is cheaper than Disney's titles, $29.98 -> $17.99. This is an aggressive price setting. However, I believe the number of published copies of "Full metal Alchemist" is far fewer than "The Incredibles." Anime fans would wonder, "Why can't anime DVD be sold cheaper than the other titles?"
Nowadays, discount competition is heating up and the profits of companies are declining.
100 Questions About Anime & Manga Overseas Special Issue: Fansubs and the Gloom of the Anime Industry - Part 1
- Translated by T. Ohara