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Old 2011-02-04, 18:56   Link #1
Kaijo
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Piracy Boosts Anime Sales, Study Concludes

Anime News Network Article (courtesy of Kholdstare): Youtube Views Appear to Raise TV Anime DVD Sales (added this link, which appears to be a bit less biased, but still interesting)

Torrentfreak article: Piracy Boosts Anime Sales, Study Concludes

Since it's relevant to us, and probably tells us things we already knew (or perhaps wished, heh), thought I'd make this a thread of it's own. If that's not agreeable, I can move it elsewhere or post it in an existing thread.

The Japanese Research Institute of Economy is apparently a fairly well prestigious economic think-tank, so it's not like this is an ignorable study. The phrase "correlation is not causation" should be kept in mind, and the study didn't look at all factors, but it is enlightening nonetheless. The study is in Japanese, so anyone who can translate is welcome to look it over and post any relevant points, heh.

So, what do you guys think? I was already of the opinion that piracy was beneficial to sales. Think this report might get some studios to change their minds about going after fansubbers, translators, etc. that upload works?

Edit: Copying and pasting Kholdstares post, as it does a good job correcting and clarifying some information:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kholdstare
1) Unlike the torrentfreak article, the ANN article doesn't say the study "concludes" anything but that it "seems" to suggest an increase in DVD sales.

2) The ANN article mentions only YouTube, and it is quite right. The Winny research does not have any substantial proof about the increase in DVD Sales (0.06% increase), but it did indicate that Winny decrease DVD rentals. This is notable since only YouTube views (not file sharing) seem to help DVD sales. But you can say that Winny doesn't show to be detrimental to sales.

3) And thirdly, the ANN mentions that, "Tanaka emphasized that the paper expresses his own views and does not represent the views of RIETI." So the Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry doesn't necessarily endorse this study (yet?).

So basically, the study is still useful, but torrentfreak sort of exaggerated it and drew fast conclusions. An interesting thing to note is that file sharing is probably making the anime rental industry suffer.

Last edited by Kaijo; 2011-02-05 at 22:06.
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Old 2011-02-04, 19:02   Link #2
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These are just empiric results, not really a cutting edge theory that can be considered as foolproof.
Furthermore, there is a fundamental point in this study: it is applied only for the Japanese market. To be blunt, the behavior of Japanese consumers is drastically different, especially if you consider the products (DVD/Blu Ray) and their prices compared to western market.
This is also the reason why the study includes DVD rental, as purchasing actual DVD of anime series is by no mean a cheap advent.

The study itself is interesting, but I think people are jumping on the gun when declaring this study concludes that "piracy [boosts] anime sales", whereas it is because of specific context and the fact it doesn't really "boost" anything.
Would the productors actually promote their series on the long term (several months, even after the last DVD has been released), it might have some similar effect, that and possibly its original material doing the same.

But I personally think Japanese market isn't really that great to begin with, even if there wasn't even any piracy, considering how atrocious it is to purchase the series you want, unless you have extremely solid income.

Therefore, this study will probably have no impact on Funimation or any other western licensors.
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Old 2011-02-04, 19:50   Link #3
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As I pointed out in my post, of course it's not foolproof. At best, it represents a slow trend to show that piracy isn't all bad. And western distributors like Funimation only sued because the Japanese studio put pressure on them to do something about piracy. If you can turn the Japanese companies opinions around, then it will affect western companies.

I am probably not alone in wanting to view or experience a product before buying, thus I want to watch/read an anime/manga before I consider buying. That's the message we want to get out as fans, and thus studies like this are a step in the right direction, even if they aren't perfect. The biggest news would be simply the group behind the study, and thus that alone is going to give it some weight.
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Old 2011-02-04, 19:57   Link #4
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I came across a similar article but from ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news...nime-dvd-sales

There are some differences, however.

1) Unlike the torrentfreak article, the ANN article doesn't say the study "concludes" anything but that it "seems" to suggest an increase in DVD sales.

2) The ANN article mentions only YouTube, and it is quite right. The Winny research does not have any substantial proof about the increase in DVD Sales (0.06% increase), but it did indicate that Winny decrease DVD rentals. This is notable since only YouTube views (not file sharing) seem to help DVD sales. But you can say that Winny doesn't show to be detrimental to sales.

3) And thirdly, the ANN mentions that, "Tanaka emphasized that the paper expresses his own views and does not represent the views of RIETI." So the Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry doesn't necessarily endorse this study (yet?).

So basically, the study is still useful, but torrentfreak sort of exaggerated it and drew fast conclusions. An interesting thing to note is that file sharing is probably making the anime rental industry suffer.

Last edited by KholdStare; 2011-02-04 at 23:23.
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Old 2011-02-04, 20:05   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
The phrase "correlation is not causation" should be kept in mind, and the study didn't look at all factors, but it is enlightening nonetheless.
That phrase essentially sums up my own thoughts on the matter. It's an interesting correlation but nothing else.

While I do not particularly care for the scare tactics the industry likes to employ when talking about piracy and all that it implies...I'm also not necessarily going to actively promote it as a "good" thing for the business without a far more comprehensive set of studies instead of just a couple of preliminary inquiries like this one.
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Old 2011-02-04, 21:38   Link #6
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Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
but it did indicate that Winny decreases DVD rentals.
Just a quick fix note.
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Old 2011-02-04, 21:44   Link #7
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Well I'm sure everyone here knows that correlation =/= causation, so I'll leave it at that.
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Old 2011-02-04, 23:24   Link #8
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Ah thanks bayoab. The OP should fix this too to not cause confusion. :P

EDIT: It's good to consider that correlation =/= causation. But what if we change the argument from "YouTube causes increase in DVD sales" to "YouTube does not harm DVD sales"? Of course this data doesn't "disprove" anything, but are there any study saying YouTube and piracy harms DVD sales? Now we shift the "proving" part to the side that claims using copyright material publicly hurts sales.
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Old 2011-02-04, 23:30   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xander View Post
That phrase essentially sums up my own thoughts on the matter. It's an interesting correlation but nothing else.

While I do not particularly care for the scare tactics the industry likes to employ when talking about piracy and all that it implies...I'm also not necessarily going to actively promote it as a "good" thing for the business without a far more comprehensive set of studies instead of just a couple of preliminary inquiries like this one.
So are you basically neutral on piracy?

Personally, I believe that stealing is just plain wrong, that the director, actors (or animators and voice actors) producers, etc. are being cheated out of their hard work from video piracy. But, at the same time, many publishers, both here in Hollywood and in Japan, tend to be rather greedy with their distribution, to the point where it could be called "reverse piracy".
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Old 2011-02-04, 23:41   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandySyler View Post
So are you basically neutral on piracy?

Personally, I believe that stealing is just plain wrong, that the director, actors (or animators and voice actors) producers, etc. are being cheated out of their hard work from video piracy. But, at the same time, many publishers, both here in Hollywood and in Japan, tend to be rather greedy with their distribution, to the point where it could be called "reverse piracy".
This, interestingly, may not be about stealing. Is piracy bad/illegal? For the sake of discussion let's say piracy is illegal. The more interesting part of the equation is whether or not that hurts sales. And we continue to ask the questions, "does piracy dissuade DVD sales" and "would people who only pirate actually buy DVDs if piracy is not available." In short, without bring legality into the equation, the issue tries to address whether: awareness and sales from piracy - sales lost through piracy = more or less profit.
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Old 2011-02-04, 23:41   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandySyler View Post
So are you basically neutral on piracy?

Personally, I believe that stealing is just plain wrong, that the director, actors (or animators and voice actors) producers, etc. are being cheated out of their hard work from video piracy. But, at the same time, many publishers, both here in Hollywood and in Japan, tend to be rather greedy with their distribution, to the point where it could be called "reverse piracy".
"stealing" is a specific term involving the theft of physical property. Unless you're scampering out of Japan with a van full of DVDs without paying for them, you haven't "stolen" anything.

You *have* committed copyright infringement if you use content in some say the creators don't like that exceeds "Fair Use".

The instigators of the imaginary term "intellectual property" are *trying* to make it the same as physical property... but since you can duplicate it, borrow from it, etc.... it isn't a tangible item.

I even object to the term "piracy".... that's a violent crime of the high seas that the **AA marketeers have managed to wordsmith onto a disputed civil matter. Being able to control the framing and words used in a debate is a win on the first move for them.
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Old 2011-02-05, 00:00   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
As I pointed out in my post, of course it's not foolproof. At best, it represents a slow trend to show that piracy isn't all bad. And western distributors like Funimation only sued because the Japanese studio put pressure on them to do something about piracy. If you can turn the Japanese companies opinions around, then it will affect western companies.

I am probably not alone in wanting to view or experience a product before buying, thus I want to watch/read an anime/manga before I consider buying. That's the message we want to get out as fans, and thus studies like this are a step in the right direction, even if they aren't perfect. The biggest news would be simply the group behind the study, and thus that alone is going to give it some weight.
Did they Japanese know about this too it seems barely asking too much. Still sales are good because of more anime, it's just alienates those fans and pissing them off for no reason.

Sadly business is just a joke without being creativity. The blame cycle keeps on going.
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Old 2011-02-05, 01:32   Link #13
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Perhaps you don't see the horror of anime piracy in my country. They came so fast that some latest anime titles like Ore no Imouto and World Only God Knows were available when the Autumn season ends. Fans flocked to their favorite DVD stores when each season ended.

Recently the local terrestrial TV channel premiered Gundam 00 movie as recently as 29th January thanks to those pirated DVDs. My government either stupid or ignorant to know those are obviously pirated.

In case you are wondering, my country is Malaysia and you are not going to believe what they are selling in their stores when you actually see them.

PS: Yosuga no Sora is obviously not allowed in my country since of it incestuous theme plus the very first TV mainstream non-hentai anime to show incestuous sex scenes on-screen.
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Old 2011-02-05, 07:27   Link #14
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Originally Posted by Highman View Post
Did they Japanese know about this too it seems barely asking too much. Still sales are good because of more anime, it's just alienates those fans and pissing them off for no reason.
I suppose someone should note that A LOT of anime is becoming available online to viewers in Japan? It's a trend I noticed over the last year and a half or so (every season, there are a series of posts on some famous Japanese anime blogs announcing new screenings on Nico Video, Bandai Visual, Gyao! and various other sites).

What they cannot do is make them available to overseas viewers, even Japanese people overseas, because of various issues (some of which were explored in the thread discussing Funimation pulling Fractale a couple of weeks back, e.g. in this post)
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Old 2011-02-05, 08:16   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kameruka View Post
Perhaps you don't see the horror of anime piracy in my country. They came so fast that some latest anime titles like Ore no Imouto and World Only God Knows were available when the Autumn season ends. Fans flocked to their favorite DVD stores when each season ended.

Recently the local terrestrial TV channel premiered Gundam 00 movie as recently as 29th January thanks to those pirated DVDs. My government either stupid or ignorant to know those are obviously pirated.

In case you are wondering, my country is Malaysia and you are not going to believe what they are selling in their stores when you actually see them.

PS: Yosuga no Sora is obviously not allowed in my country since of it incestuous theme plus the very first TV mainstream non-hentai anime to show incestuous sex scenes on-screen.
I thought Malaysia are like bros to the Japanese or left my thinking cap somewhere.
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Old 2011-02-05, 14:57   Link #16
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I thought Malaysia are like bros to the Japanese or left my thinking cap somewhere.
Malaysia is a "money goes" place. It is due to money not flowing well enough in the civil and state services, the workers had to resort to other means to have a usable income.

I am not surprised if they actually aired pirated copies to gain viewership for the broadcasting stations, thus upping their ad-revenue through the commercials. For here, we only get Zero No Tsukaima third season ON THE FOURTH EPISODE thanks to goddamn bureaucracy and censors having their heads up their asses.
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Old 2011-02-05, 17:32   Link #17
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Well, yeah.

I never would have bought my Kaiba, Mind Game, Comet-san, Akazukin Chacha, or Snow Queen R2s without having first seen fansubs, though legit streams would serve the same purpose... and most of my R1 DVD purchases have been a result of watching fansubs.

With movies, there are theaters and rentals to provide initial viewings before committing to buy. With anime, prior to Crunchyroll and other streaming sites, especially simulcasts, there wasn't a good system for people like myself to preview anime (yes, there's some on Netfix/TV, but that's years out of date). There are still a lot of quality shows that are fansub-only, though.

Basically, having access to a work means that I'm more likely to buy it. I'm way past blind buying now, at any price, so if if I haven't seen an anime already, I'm not buying, period.

I own over 1000 DVDs, so I'm definitely willing to put my money where my mouth is.
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Old 2011-02-05, 18:07   Link #18
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http://www.rieti.go.jp/jp/publications/dp/11j010.pdf

Can someone translate it?
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Old 2011-02-05, 18:29   Link #19
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Maybe my government just too ignorant to realize about it. Much like "its a cartoon and who give damn about cartoons except kids". The Gundam 00 movie that I mentioned earlier was promoted as a kid show because it was animated than anything else while we already know it was primarily made for teenagers and young adults. People in my country tend to see animated shows as cartoons for kids unless they are Matt Groening's creations(Simpsons and Futurama) or Disney-Pixar and Dreamworks 3D movies.

Another scary thing is I personally had Ore no Imouto and Amagami SS DVDs and I bought them only a week after Autumn season ended. The only reason why I bought them is to delete the same titles that I downloaded on the internet to save HD space in my notebook. Much like I stole my classmate's money in order to replace the one I stole from my parents. These DVDs actually had seal of approval from my government that they are original. Its pretty obvious that my government have o idea which all these stuffs came from.

My fellow Malaysians, if you see them had Malay subtitles written on the box, its pretty obvious they are pirated, regardless how nice the packaging is.
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Old 2011-02-05, 22:05   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
Ah thanks bayoab. The OP should fix this too to not cause confusion. :P

EDIT: It's good to consider that correlation =/= causation. But what if we change the argument from "YouTube causes increase in DVD sales" to "YouTube does not harm DVD sales"? Of course this data doesn't "disprove" anything, but are there any study saying YouTube and piracy harms DVD sales? Now we shift the "proving" part to the side that claims using copyright material publicly hurts sales.
The main reason why this study is a good thing, is because there has been so little research on the effects of piracy, period. Everyone just assumes it's bad. This is just yet another thing you can point to that indicates it's not so bad.

And hell, Bill Gates said as much, regarding piracy of windows in China: "If they are going to pirate, we want them to pirate our stuff. We'll figure out later how to monetize it."

So there are rich people that know the benefits of piracy. If Microsoft started cracking down on Chinese piracy, all those users would switch to Linux. Piracy is essentially free advertising. You can record a song off the radio, but is that stealing? (and yes, there are RIAA folks who want to severely limit that as well).
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