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Old 2007-05-15, 08:06   Link #1
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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An opportunity to solve the argument once and for all on fansubs?

Recently, there had been some reports of serious crackdowns on the part of the Singaporean government in attempting to stamp out anime downloading all together in their country. We don't know how serious they are, but we know the government there can be pretty tough when they are doing things for real.

So, even though we don't know if they could ever be successful at crushing fansubs there, I still have an interesting idea. Assuming fansubs could and was to be wiped out in Singapore in the near future, the opportunity then arises for us to answer the age old question; is fansubs leeching profits from the anime dvd companies?

I am not asking about the legal issues of fansubs; rather, I want to know if fansubs have any impact on the amount of money the local anime DVD distributors make, and in what direction is the impact leaning towards.

Sure, any number of the posters here have had made their point on how fansubs either benefited or damaged the anime economy in many past threads. But the truth is we don't have any fact at all concerning the measurable differences between an anime economy with or without fansubs. The lack of data means everyone simply make assumptions based around their own beliefs and interests, with no way of the assumptions been verified and causing fruitless flame wars.

So here is the plan, and I hope fellow posters can help out here in fixing it up; we need to obtain monthly sales data of anime DVDs in Singapore from now and until the hypothetical period when fansubs become completely unavailable or unsafe for Singaporeans without being imprisoned. Further, sales data from another area like Hong Kong or Malaysia can be used to flatten out the discrepancies caused by sales fluctuation from release of new series or quiet periods when there wasn't anything popular released.

Using these sets of data, hypothetically we can determine if the existence (or absence, as the case here) of fansubs was detrimental or beneficial to the profits of the Anime DVD distributors in Singapore. Or for that matter, there might be no effects at all.

Do you think anime companies would be willing to do this test? This might be the first chance we've got to get hard data on something that had been causing arguments all over the net.
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Old 2007-05-15, 08:23   Link #2
cyth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Do you think anime companies would be willing to do this test? This might be the first chance we've got to get hard data on something that had been causing arguments all over the net.
Do you have any way to contact the singaporean licensors? Do you want posters to come up with a plan to contact them? Are you just asking for our aproval? Do you expect companies to lie? What--"first chance we've got"--are you talking about?

EDIT: I'm asking these because the lack of cooperation and fan interaction the singaporean licensing company ODEX has shown can't even remotely compare to american licensors', and even they treat the "numbers" as secrets of the trade.

And don't worry, this will turn into another "fruitless flame war".
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Old 2007-05-15, 08:35   Link #3
felix
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Vallen is starting a flame war
--------------------------------
What is the Net coming to..


I've never heard of this so called wide spread wild fire you speak of. Bring forth the links.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toua
What--"first chance we've got"--are you talking about?
I'm can't think of what he meant either..
That's also why I asked for links..
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Old 2007-05-15, 16:59   Link #4
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toua View Post
Do you have any way to contact the singaporean licensors? Do you want posters to come up with a plan to contact them? Are you just asking for our aproval? Do you expect companies to lie? What--"first chance we've got"--are you talking about?

EDIT: I'm asking these because the lack of cooperation and fan interaction the singaporean licensing company ODEX has shown can't even remotely compare to american licensors', and even they treat the "numbers" as secrets of the trade.

And don't worry, this will turn into another "fruitless flame war".
What I mean by "first chance" is that there had never been a way to compare sales of anime DVDs in a region both with and without fansubs present. I am not interested in the moral or legal issue; just the facts, and wanting to see how such an experiment could be conducted though bouncing ideas here.
(p.s. I am currently in the Biotech field. Hence all the interests in facts and nothing but the facts... which we havent got any.)
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Old 2007-05-15, 17:11   Link #5
FatPianoBoy
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I'm not sure it will do any good, honestly.
If sales increase following a ban, it'll prove them right. If they decrease, they could claim fans are simply boycotting in an effort to protest. Governments always have the final word - especially in Singapore.
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Old 2007-05-15, 17:41   Link #6
shaolinx
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well one thing for sure, if the sales does increase in singapore and its proven that this is due to the heavier restrictions on fansub downloads, other countries WILL also begin to pick up this trend... however snice singapore is relativly small and has a HUGE amount of hardcore fans(fans who purchase dvds, figurines, posters, etc), we will probably see many of them boycotting the system until it is lifted. just my 2cents
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Old 2007-05-15, 18:08   Link #7
raikage
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Well...the thing is that anime is such a diverse product it's impossible to tell.

The question really being asked is, do fansubs deprive the local country of industry of sales it would otherwise have?

But banning fansubs doesn't really answer the question. If sales go up, is it a matter of fansubs being banned, or is it due to generally better anime being put out this year than last year?

If sales go down, is it because fansubs weren't around to promote the series, or because this season's crop wasn't as good, or some larger economic impact that forced viewers to conserve their money?
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Old 2007-05-15, 18:20   Link #8
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
What I mean by "first chance" is that there had never been a way to compare sales of anime DVDs in a region both with and without fansubs present. I am not interested in the moral or legal issue; just the facts, and wanting to see how such an experiment could be conducted though bouncing ideas here.
(p.s. I am currently in the Biotech field. Hence all the interests in facts and nothing but the facts... which we havent got any.)
I suggest you visit the library and take out the book "Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research," by Donald Campbell and Julian Stanley. Don't be put off by the 1966 copyright date; this is one of the most important books on social research methods ever written.

The kind of study you're interested in is what they call an "interrupted time-series design," where you look at trends in an outcome variable (anime DVD sales in your case) before and after a change in policy. The best such designs usually include examining trends for "control group" units and comparing them to the trend in the unit where the policy has changed. You might look at how sales in Singapore changed versus, say, sales in Hong Kong or Taiwan. This method helps to rule out alternative explanations based on what Campbell and Stanley call "history," namely, all other forces that might account for any observed change that are contemporaneous with the change in policy. For instance, sales might increase after the change in laws, but that could be the result of more appealing content becoming available after the change. However if sales remain relatively flat in the comparison countries, but increase in Singapore, this gives us greater confidence that the change we observe in Singapore is a result of the change in policy. (This is a common issue in discussions about the effects of P2P on music sales. If there is a decline in sales, does that mean it's the result of piracy, or is it just a normal fluctuation in sales that resulted from the distribution of less-appealing material?)

If, after you've read this (short!) book, you have any other questions, PM me.
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Old 2007-05-15, 21:47   Link #9
Lost
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Recently, there had been some reports of serious crackdowns on the part of the Singaporean government in attempting to stamp out anime downloading all together in their country. We don't know how serious they are, but we know the government there can be pretty tough when they are doing things for real.
There have been no crackdowns on anime-downloading. Neither is the government behind this. Do you have links to the purported reports? At this time, there are only credible rumours (hints, even) of an NGO gathering data on super-seeders and excessive downloaders; and not only in the field of anime downloading, but in Movies, Music and Software too. It remains to be seen what action will be taken, with or without the government's co-operation. This does not seem to be a concerted effort on anime downloads alone, but rather on all facets of online piracy. Needless to say, though, anime-downloaders are the easiest to prosecute and may well be made scapegoats.
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Old 2007-05-16, 01:35   Link #10
wingdarkness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raikage View Post
If sales go down, is it because fansubs weren't around to promote the series, or because this season's crop wasn't as good, or some larger economic impact that forced viewers to conserve their money?
And what came first the chicken or the egg??

That question just can't be answered effectively...

Another topic of attrition I see ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VCV
Do you think anime companies would be willing to do this test?
I think they're scared to death to see the results of that test^^...It's both helping and hurting, but the overall blood-letting from the standard non-newbie start-ups don't seem to be as prevalent as many try to convince me they are...Inordinatley fansubs have to be helping to a valid extent because it helped me and friends around me in my personal experiences with choosing which animes we're WORTH buying to us...(In this current era) I don't believe I would have been willing to buy the dozens of anime series and movies I have purchased if I hadn't seen some fansubs of it to convince me of it's worth...The real question is can anime companies somehow show willing buyers the worth of there product without completely showing-off the product? I don't think they can in this current climate, because the p2p-Genie can never go back into the bottle ever again...A statistical survey like you're suggesting could convince them to accept the given and navigate a new surface...But with Singapore's history of anal strictness nothings a given...


(Just brain-storming, but) I think what could possibly or potentially change the playing field in a monumental way, is when a distributer or anime company decides to actively start poaching or buying off the best fansub groups and employing them to push there product on some serious level...I mean buying off full staffs of the best encoders, editors, font, and karaoke translators, etc. (Based on the quality and overall statistical success of it's leech fanbase) and giving them the DVD-quality landscape to give R1 DVD's that special flavor, flair and creative integrity that make many people want to keep their fansubs over a generic DVD presentation//adaptation...Maybe I'm insane but for some reason that seems to have tangent possibilities to me...What group would pass on an opportunity to be fully employed in an experimental test to see if fans of actual popular and quality groups would bring there leechers with them to some valid level in buying DVD's? I don't know maybe I'm reaching, am I?
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Old 2007-05-16, 01:45   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant
Recently, there had been some reports of serious crackdowns on the part of the Singaporean government in attempting to stamp out anime downloading all together in their country. We don't know how serious they are, but we know the government there can be pretty tough when they are doing things for real.
Out of curiosity, could you quote your sources please? (So that I may inform the relevant authorities to make sure such offensive publications are banned in Singapore. )

As Lost pointed out, there have been NO crackdowns on anime-downloading in Singapore, although a lot has been done over the past five years to crackdown on IP theft in general. We've had some success in this regard, having reduced the rate of software piracy down from 42% (in 2004) to 39% last year, for example.

Foreign media have a tendency to overplay the "harshness" of Singaporean law and regulations by failing to explain the local context. For example, it's true that we have rather strict censorship laws, but it's also true that the relevant authorities (such as the Ministry of Communication & the Arts, or the Media Development Authority) take a more pragmatic approach in practise. For example, they have tacitly given up trying to block pornographic content on the Internet, knowing full well that there's no way they can fully enforce such laws.

I highly suspect that crackdowns on downloading (not just anime, but movies and music as well) will end up the same way.
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Old 2007-05-16, 02:34   Link #12
jianfish
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I haven heard of such things yet so I can say I am surprised.
Alright, the Singapore govt have been forced to start waving the stick at us by all those RIAA and groupies but Anime is still far off from being targeted. Much less Fansubs which are not licensed.

Maybe my government is keeping something from me (I won't be surprised), but unless you can show me some links or sources, I have a hard time believing it.
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Old 2007-05-16, 02:59   Link #13
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jianfish View Post
I haven heard of such things yet so I can say I am surprised.
Alright, the Singapore govt have been forced to start waving the stick at us by all those RIAA and groupies but Anime is still far off from being targeted. Much less Fansubs which are not licensed.

Maybe my government is keeping something from me (I won't be surprised), but unless you can show me some links or sources, I have a hard time believing it.
I just have to make it clear, my post has nothing directly related to political or legal actions to be taken by Singapore. I had even made the point that currently I am not convinced this is to happen for certain.

The point was, I am claiming if this IS happening, the best time to gather data would be right now, before crackdown happens. And that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a study of this nature. It would be too late to get sales data if people are already being arrested and affecting the market.

And as many point out, there is still a very good chance this planned crackdown is either just hot air or unenforceable. That's why my focus on this thread is merely discussion on how to take advantage of a theoretical "flawless" crackdown.

Back on topic, there is a very easy way in distinguishing the differences between a genuine DVD sales drop from less fansub advertising instead of disgruntled fans boycotting; just collect data over a long period of time. Boycotts can't last forever, so eventually any angry fan will either start buying again or get out of anime altogether. If DVD sales goes down and stays down compared to other countries nearby, then one can say with some confidence the ban of fansubs harmed the sales of legit anime DVDs.
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Old 2007-05-16, 03:05   Link #14
seorang
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Comparing with Malaysia? Piracy drives the sales of anime there more than fansubs, simply because of the crappy quality of broadband and the comparative expensive price of anime (this is a country where the average starting graduate makes less than 400 USD a month) makes it much more attractive to buy bootlegs.

Clearly not markets with similar circumstances.
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Old 2007-05-16, 05:18   Link #15
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seorang View Post
Comparing with Malaysia? Piracy drives the sales of anime there more than fansubs, simply because of the crappy quality of broadband and the comparative expensive price of anime (this is a country where the average starting graduate makes less than 400 USD a month) makes it much more attractive to buy bootlegs.

Clearly not markets with similar circumstances.
The comparison with other countries does not require that the country being compared with is exactly similar; Because we are only comparing the sales of DVDs before and after the (hypothetical) change in the Singaporean fansub landscape. The use of other country's sales data would mostly be used only as a means of balancing out the effect of either up or down periods due to the mass release or absence of desirable new anime series.

Thus, let us say Haruhi Season 2, Code Geass Season One, and Darker than Black all gets released on legit DVDs in both Malaysia and Singapore simultaneously; This will cause a jump in Anime DVD sales due to influx of new products, but we can prevent this from masking the effects of fansub absence by coordinating the data with those of Malasyia's increased profit, as Malasyia's sales increase happened while fansubs are freely available in the area. The reverse will also be true, if for several months nothing better than Musashi Gundu was released and that caused a sales drop.
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Old 2007-05-19, 10:09   Link #16
Lost
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- deleted -

Last edited by Lost; 2007-05-19 at 10:25.
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Old 2007-05-19, 13:35   Link #17
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingdarkness View Post
And what came first the chicken or the egg??

That question just can't be answered effectively...
The egg of course, creatures were laying eggs long before the chicken species even existed.

You misunderstand the true genius behind the expression.
It is NOT an unanswerable question, that's not the point.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding this fansub business. //pun intended
You say the fansubs are more important for the fanbase, yet you say it's important because it makes companies money.

It's not like anime will spread in cartoons more then they already have, so what should be the purpose of fansubs (since I think this is really the topic the thread touches upon) the growth of the fanbase or the growth of anime merchandise. And no, it's ridiculous to think one can have both.

Let me ask this,
If the purpose of Fansubs is to spread anime as merchandise, then why aren't all anime subbed?
And why are others consciously over-subbed? =)

---
One other question, are people in Singapore all english illiterets, can they really not watch subs from english-sub groups?
(which should not be effected by this)
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Old 2007-05-19, 14:10   Link #18
cyth
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Originally Posted by Cats View Post
Let me ask this,
If the purpose of Fansubs is to spread anime as merchandise, then why aren't all anime subbed?
And why are others consciously over-subbed? =)
This will be a bit offtopic, I apologize for that, but some time ago I had this funky idea about fansubbing and merchandise advertising, basically fansubbers making short commercial blocks in the middle of fansubbed episodes. Perhaps making a clip just a few seconds long advertising products that can/will be found on the internet (figurines, artbooks etc.), with appropriate links to them. Of course, there would be no ad revenue involved in this , but I'm positive it would stimulate if only a few fansub watchers to start taking interest in the products the industry has to offer. Fansubbers could call it "Today's Featured Product", "Lucky Channel's Goodies Corner" or something along those lines. I know fansubbers shouldn't be doing the industry's job, but I don't think it's that worse from illegally distributing their content. I know a few fansubbers would be willing to do that, because most of them aren't just yar-har-fiddle-dee-dee pirates but also fans who do purchase the available merchandise.

It sounds a bit crazy but it would be a first. I'll be more than willing to do it when I make my own fansubbing group.
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Old 2007-05-19, 16:52   Link #19
wingdarkness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
The egg of course, creatures were laying eggs long before the chicken species even existed.

You misunderstand the true genius behind the expression.
It is NOT an unanswerable question, that's not the point.


For starters either you're being purposely dense or your veiled arrogance has gotten the better of you...The question is a metaphor relating to the hard question between fansubs helping and hurting anime companies...But by all means use your :rollseyes: smileycon to pretend you have the answer to a metaphorical Juggernaut of a question that some scientists even today are still puzzled by, but ofcourse a European Animesuki Artist knows more than scientists and theologists on this subject (<---Proper usage of rollseyes smileycon)...The debate, is simply a tool used in argumentative relatives... "Not ZOMGBBQ didn't you knew the egg be first!" practicalities... Furthermore a Man of the Bible believes the chicken came first and a man of science believes it was the egg, but since your Cats you know more and can easily ignore core beliefs (I mean the bible is stupid right? )...

As for the rest I'm not sure if those questions were directed at me or not but I find the answers to the rest (based on your demeanor) Cat-explanatory...
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Last edited by wingdarkness; 2007-05-19 at 17:02.
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Old 2007-05-19, 21:47   Link #20
raikage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
Let me ask this,
If the purpose of Fansubs is to spread anime as merchandise, then why aren't all anime subbed?
And why are others consciously over-subbed? =)
Not really sure where you're going with this.

It's much quicker and easier to sub, than it is to dub.

In fact, since with the access to resources we have, it would be impossible to fan-dub on a timely basis -- since you're talking about completely removing the Japanese-language track, dubbing it over (making sure you time out the voices to fit when the characters' mouths are moving), replanting the OST, and foleying any sound effects.

Fansubs are meant to spread awareness of series, and get more people to buy the release, than they otherwise would had people not been exposed to the fansub.

Does it work? For the most part, the first goal is fulfilled -- the second is the whole point of this debate.
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