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Old 2014-08-11, 16:16   Link #41
DonQuigleone
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I would have thought that even in Japan fighting piracy wouldn't be optimal, and that's because of the peculiar (and I think ingenious) way the Japanese market for Anime operates.

The most important things when considering the Japanese Blu-ray/DVD market are:

1. They're high cost/low volume, most shows break even between 2000-5000 units.

2. They're not the only source of revenue, for some properties, sales of merchandise make up the lions share of the show's revenue. Think Gunpla.

3. Given that the "Otaku" audience in Japan is around 1-2 million people, only 1/1000th the potential audience for a show buys a Blu-ray of the show.

4. Given the high cost for an individual DVD or Blu Ray, we can surmise that primary reason someone buys the disk is not to watch it, but for collector's value. In fact, given the high cost, I think it would be reasonable to expect every buyer to have already seen the show in question before splashing 500$+ on a complete set of Blu Rays.

5. The producers, on the whole, do not make money from advertising when it comes to showing anime. In fact, these late night showings actually cost them money! Given that fact, pirated viewings actually cost anime producers less then standard viewings!

Given that fact, I would think Anime producers would be better off simply ignoring piracy and distributing all their shows on online platforms, in a way where you, as a viewer, are always a few clicks away from buying overpriced DVDs and model kits!

Given the above, I think this is generally what the conventional anime life-cycle was pre mass piracy:

Otaku hears about show -> Records show on videotape (because most people aren't up at 2 am watching late night anime) -> Becomes passionate for show -> Goes to shop-> Buys lots of DVDs, character goods and model kits-> Shows video tapes to fellow Otaku.

How it should be:

Otaku hears about show -> Streams it on anime studios website/youtube -> gets passionate-> buys DVDs, character goods and model kits on anime website -> goes into debt while telling all his friends how amazing Super Nyan Nyan Girls DX: My boyfriend is a woofing dog! (or NyaWan) is.

I think the mistake here is that people think Otaku are buying commodities, but Otaku aren't buying commodities, the physical DVD. They're buying a sense of connection to the property, characters and anime studios, and people are willing to pay a lot for that (it's the same reason why a Van Gogh painting will go for a million dollars at auction even though you can get an identical poster for $10, or a counterfeit for a few hundred...)

What I don't understand, is that the Japanese anime industry is already pretty good at exploiting the hell out of it's Otaku, but they don't seem to understand how they're doing it!
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Old 2014-08-11, 17:20   Link #42
Dr. Dahm
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Does anybody know of a list of specific series being targeted? I'm kind of curious to see if I can dervice who the big movers and pushers of this latest movement are from this though I have my hunches it's mainly Sony Music Entertainment, Kadokawa Shoten and Bandai Visual based on just the sheer number of claims they make against youtube videos containing any sort of copyright content that fails to include a fair use clause.
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Old 2014-08-11, 17:36   Link #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
How it should be:

Otaku hears about show -> Streams it on anime studios website/youtube -> gets passionate-> buys DVDs, character goods and model kits on anime website -> goes into debt while telling all his friends how amazing Super Nyan Nyan Girls DX: My boyfriend is a woofing dog! (or NyaWan) is.

I think the mistake here is that people think Otaku are buying commodities, but Otaku aren't buying commodities, the physical DVD. They're buying a sense of connection to the property, characters and anime studios, and people are willing to pay a lot for that (it's the same reason why a Van Gogh painting will go for a million dollars at auction even though you can get an identical poster for $10, or a counterfeit for a few hundred...)

What I don't understand, is that the Japanese anime industry is already pretty good at exploiting the hell out of it's Otaku, but they don't seem to understand how they're doing it!
I think the real problem isn't that the content is being distributed for free. Nowadays, most shows are streamed for free either on Crunchyroll or some other service (and even within Japan, they're slowly starting to come around). The real issue is the copycat sites that host illegal video streams (even when legal streams are available), and then profit off of the ad revenue that results.

I do generally agree that piracy is a service issue. But, at the same time, doing nothing about sites that are raking in profits by illegally hosting content that's otherwise legally available doesn't seem right either. If they were trying to be altruistic and just service those parts of the world where the content were not available, they could take steps to limit access to those parts of the world. But obviously they don't because this would cut down on their ad revenue. It certainly ceases to be altruistic when people are trying to make a living off this.

Consider also the view of the person who does turn around and become a passionate collector. They want to get value for their "investment" (patronage) that's more than just the "feel good" of supporting a show they like. If you think of anime collecting like a Kickstarter with pledge threshold rewards, people don't necessarily like to see those rewards subsequently made available to everyone else for free and someone else profiting in the process.

Basically, "free exposure" doesn't justify absolutely everything in my view. When the torrent site here was started, it was to provide access to content that you could not otherwise get in English at all, which is why we always took care to remove content as it was licensed. We never allowed OSTs because that's something anyone could buy without the need for translations, and their exposure already happened through the show itself. Same with artbooks, and all manners of raws. If the piracy is motivated by altruism, even that I can accept to some degree, but when it's motivated by greed/profit from the person doing the pirating, I've got a problem with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dahm View Post
Does anybody know of a list of specific series being targeted? I'm kind of curious to see if I can dervice who the big movers and pushers of this latest movement are from this though I have my hunches it's mainly Sony Music Entertainment, Kadokawa Shoten and Bandai Visual based on just the sheer number of claims they make against youtube videos containing any sort of copyright content that fails to include a fair use clause.
You don't even have to derive it; all the companies are listed on the site linked in the opening post of the thread, including also the list of series being targeted.
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Old 2014-08-11, 18:11   Link #44
GreyZone
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the real problem isn't that the content is being distributed for free. Nowadays, most shows are streamed for free either on Crunchyroll or some other service (and even within Japan, they're slowly starting to come around). The real issue is the copycat sites that host illegal video streams (even when legal streams are available), and then profit off of the ad revenue that results.

I do generally agree that piracy is a service issue. But, at the same time, doing nothing about sites that are raking in profits by illegally hosting content that's otherwise legally available doesn't seem right either. If they were trying to be altruistic and just service those parts of the world where the content were not available, they could take steps to limit access to those parts of the world. But obviously they don't because this would cut down on their ad revenue. It certainly ceases to be altruistic when people are trying to make a living off this.

Consider also the view of the person who does turn around and become a passionate collector. They want to get value for their "investment" (patronage) that's more than just the "feel good" of supporting a show they like. If you think of anime collecting like a Kickstarter with pledge threshold rewards, people don't necessarily like to see those rewards subsequently made available to everyone else for free and someone else profiting in the process.

Basically, "free exposure" doesn't justify absolutely everything in my view. When the torrent site here was started, it was to provide access to content that you could not otherwise get in English at all, which is why we always took care to remove content as it was licensed. We never allowed OSTs because that's something anyone could buy without the need for translations, and their exposure already happened through the show itself. Same with artbooks, and all manners of raws. If the piracy is motivated by altruism, even that I can accept to some degree, but when it's motivated by greed/profit from the person doing the pirating, I've got a problem with it.
That does not really work everywhere though. Some countries have almost no access to anime and/or manga at all and you cannot simply say that "they can just import it from US".
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Old 2014-08-11, 18:47   Link #45
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I think the real problem isn't that the content is being distributed for free. Nowadays, most shows are streamed for free either on Crunchyroll or some other service (and even within Japan, they're slowly starting to come around). The real issue is the copycat sites that host illegal video streams (even when legal streams are available), and then profit off of the ad revenue that results.
you cant control illegal video streams, you are going to waste a lot of money and manpower for poor results.
the best way to handle illegal hosting is using their popularity for other products, and keep saying to the public that you are still "fighting against piracy"

Quote:
I do generally agree that piracy is a service issue. But, at the same time, doing nothing about sites that are raking in profits by illegally hosting content that's otherwise legally available doesn't seem right either. If they were trying to be altruistic and just service those parts of the world where the content were not available, they could take steps to limit access to those parts of the world. But obviously they don't because this would cut down on their ad revenue. It certainly ceases to be altruistic when people are trying to make a living off this.
this is a specific business model, with a specific target, piracy is just another way to gain "free advertising " for your real "hen of gold eggs"

Quote:
Consider also the view of the person who does turn around and become a passionate collector. They want to get value for their "investment" (patronage) that's more than just the "feel good" of supporting a show they like.
yep, the joy of a collector is seeking, locating, acquiring items, and the more rare the item, then more "joy" for you...and companies know about this..so...these specials(limited) "editions" will cost much more ..

Quote:
If the piracy is motivated by altruism, even that I can accept to some degree, but when it's motivated by greed/profit from the person doing the pirating, I've got a problem with it.
yeah, but if you can obtain something free, you run for it...its just how the human mind work.
...about the "profit"..it depends on the "business"....or how you gain money(advertising, fake copies, etc)
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Old 2014-08-11, 19:10   Link #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazo View Post
you cant control illegal video streams, you are going to waste a lot of money and manpower for poor results.
the best way to handle illegal hosting is using their popularity for other products, and keep saying to the public that you are still "fighting against piracy"
Well, to be fair, the anime industry has tried this to some extent. In fact, isn't this is more or less what they did with Crunchyroll?

I definitely see Don's points, which is why the only thing that makes sense to me at all is what Relentlessflame pointed to - Tapping into ad revenue as much as possible.

My guess is that the anime industry doesn't want its anime to be spread out over a bunch of different sites, leading to foreign (i.e. non-Japanese) anime fans being divided amongst them. It would be better for the anime industry if they could pool all of those fans together to one site, since that would cause the site's view count to be very attractive to advertisers (it'll be less attractive otherwise). And I'm inclined to think that this is what they're trying to accomplish with Crunchyroll, more or less.

Now the anime industry probably realizes that completely stamping out anime piracy is pretty much impossible, but they only need to pick off a percentage of the pirates in order to possibly get some benefit from it. So they might be hoping that if they make anime piracy onerous enough, more anime fans may say "F it, I'm just going to switch to Crunchyroll and not bother with fansubs any more".
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Old 2014-08-12, 11:02   Link #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the real problem isn't that the content is being distributed for free. Nowadays, most shows are streamed for free either on Crunchyroll or some other service (and even within Japan, they're slowly starting to come around). The real issue is the copycat sites that host illegal video streams (even when legal streams are available), and then profit off of the ad revenue that results.

I do generally agree that piracy is a service issue. But, at the same time, doing nothing about sites that are raking in profits by illegally hosting content that's otherwise legally available doesn't seem right either. If they were trying to be altruistic and just service those parts of the world where the content were not available, they could take steps to limit access to those parts of the world. But obviously they don't because this would cut down on their ad revenue. It certainly ceases to be altruistic when people are trying to make a living off this.

Consider also the view of the person who does turn around and become a passionate collector. They want to get value for their "investment" (patronage) that's more than just the "feel good" of supporting a show they like. If you think of anime collecting like a Kickstarter with pledge threshold rewards, people don't necessarily like to see those rewards subsequently made available to everyone else for free and someone else profiting in the process.

Basically, "free exposure" doesn't justify absolutely everything in my view. When the torrent site here was started, it was to provide access to content that you could not otherwise get in English at all, which is why we always took care to remove content as it was licensed. We never allowed OSTs because that's something anyone could buy without the need for translations, and their exposure already happened through the show itself. Same with artbooks, and all manners of raws. If the piracy is motivated by altruism, even that I can accept to some degree, but when it's motivated by greed/profit from the person doing the pirating, I've got a problem with it.



You don't even have to derive it; all the companies are listed on the site linked in the opening post of the thread, including also the list of series being targeted.
Which is why I believe "file sharing" and "piracy" should be treated as two completely different things.
It is clearly in the interests of companies to lump them together because the term piracy is automatically connected with an illegal activity. Unfortunately somehow even those who believe file sharing is right fall into this trap that doesn't create any distinction between those who share files on the web and those who illegally profit from the sales of counterfeit products (sold as original even).

I believe that "file sharing" as a purely peer to peer interaction without any lucrative end is fine. However I do not believe that any third party company should be allowed to profiteer from the distribution of something that they do not hold any rights on (which is the real and original definition of piracy).

Trackers are fine in my view as long as they are just that, trackers, and that they do not hold the files themselves in their own servers. It is even fine if they get a revenue from ads, because they still provide a service that is only tangential to the copyrighted materials.

File sharing programs like perfect dark, direct connect or even IRC are okay in my book. I'm not quite okay with sites that let you read any manga online directly.
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Old 2014-08-12, 14:26   Link #48
DonQuigleone
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@ ad revenue argument: This is certainly the case for US TV, but anime economics works quite differently to US TV, afterall not many are going to be buying body pillows or figmas based on Mad Men or Sex and the City.

Moreover, besides a few "big" shows, anime does not make money off it's broadcasts! The bread and butter of Anime is late night broadcasts, a time slot not known for big audiences. Far as I'm aware, the advertising included here only ever offsets the costs of the broadcast itself. They don't break even on it. Anime can never attract the mass audience something like a JDrama could get to make that business model sustainable. 90% of Anime is built on catering to very niche tastes, and if the money isn't coming from DVDs, it's coming from toys, posters etc. instead.

Basically when you watch Anime, the way the business model is structured, you're really watching an extended advertisement for DVDs and Toys. When we watch it, of course, all the ads are cut out, but I've seen a few cases where fansubbers trolled the audience by leaving some of the ads in, and they were often some kind of announcement for a DVD release or other merchandise. I'd like to hear more from anyone who has watched Raws to find out more.

That said, there is a possibility for Ads to be a revenue source for Anime, but given the niche audience I don't think it's ever going to be sustainable in the way it's sustainable for American TV. And to be honest, I want to see more shows which aren't dependent on having mass appeal, that's why Anime is often so delightfully weird. They know they don't have to have 50 million eyeballs watching them, they just need ~5000 Otaku willing to spend massive amounts of cash. It's a beautiful system really.

If I was employed by an Anime publisher, my approach would be to get my shows in as public a space as possible, like Youtube or Netflix. But only on condition that I can bundle my own advertising for the various merchandise I have planned, and make it very easy to move from the mass platform into my own merchandising "ecosystem". Fansubs do not fit in well with this, as I can't easily get my merchandising message to fansub watchers, and I can't give them an easy avenue to impulsively buy my merchandise. As a fansub watcher, it's a lot of work for you to make that leap to being a paying "customer". For instance, if you want to buy a Gundam model kit, it's very hard. They're not sold in many places, and you often have to go through obscure websites. Surely, if you wanted to sell a Gundam watcher a kit, the best time is at the end of a particularly episode, imagine if at the end you saw a message "see the new range of Zaku-2 models just released" and a website link where you could quickly make the purchase. You'd see lots of impulse buys, which doesn't happen with fansubs.

So the decision to go after fansubs and piracy is not a bad one, but unlike American operators, they don't have Netflix and Hulu to easily take their place.

That said, I think the Crunchyroll route that they're taking is inherently flawed. You'll only know about Anime if you're deep in the ecosystem already. They can cater to their existing audience, but they can't really expand it. I got into Anime through all the illegally uploaded videos on Youtube back in 07, but in todays environment it's impossible for me to stumble across Anime on youtube due to the removal of most of the videos. If I was 15 today, it's very likely I would never have gotten into Anime at all. It's like when you compare KPop and JPop. KPop now has a much higher profile then JPop for the simple fact that is ridiculously easy to watch KPop videos on youtube, on their label's official channels. JPop videos are almost nowhere to be found... That means Girls Generation can book big concert venues in the USA, while JPop stars have to make do with tagging along at Anime cons.

A good comparison is video games. The video game industries push against piracy is largely working:
1. They've made piracy quite inconvenient. Even if you get the game, getting patches and online functionality is now usually a real pain. And that's after you spend an age finding a working .torrent.
2. They've made it very easy to buy games online, particularly through steam. You can buy a game on steam with just 3 or 4 clicks, the whole experience is ridiculously easy. The amount of time it takes me to get a pirated game working is more then the cost of most games, when you consider that my wage>10$ an hour.

Basically, I would say Steam is killing Piracy. I've bought 4 or 5 games through steam this year, whereas last year I pirated them all. Anime needs it's "Steam."

So TL;DR
1. Due to low audience numbers, Anime needs to aim for merchandise sales.
2. They need to accept that most viewers won't ever buy anything. To get 1 sale, they might need 100 viewers. But they can make that 1 sale BIG.
3. They need to be on the platforms where everyone is watching, to get maximum possible exposure.
4. They need to easily be able to move potential new fans into their ecosystems, with well placed advertising on the platforms they operate on.
5. They also need good platforms for enthusiasts, so that it's as easy to impulsively buy a model kit, as it is to buy a game on steam.
6. They need to present a range of merchandising options to appeal to a variety of different fans. One person might want DVDs, another might want a poster, another an art book etc.
7. Accept that they'll never be Hollywood, and embrace that fact.

I currently spend no money on Anime, but if they made it easy for me to spend money, I could probably spend 100 or 200 every year on Anime. I'm sure I'm not the only person like this.
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Old 2014-08-12, 15:33   Link #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
@ ad revenue argument: This is certainly the case for US TV, but anime economics works quite differently to US TV, afterall not many are going to be buying body pillows or figmas based on Mad Men or Sex and the City.
I don't think that relentlessflame was talking about, and I know that I wasn't talking about, TV ad revenue. We (or at least I) was talking about ads on the internet site that hosts the anime content.

Advertisers generally want to advertise on sites that are getting a large following, the larger the better. So here's what I think the anime industry might be thinking - If all these online anime fans never had internet piracy to turn to, or all of these various streaming sites to turn to, many of them would turn to Crunchyroll out of sheer necessity. This would increase CR's view count, which would make CR more appealing to advertisers, which could result in bigger and better or simply more advertising deals for CR (which in turn could mean higher licensing fees to benefit various Japanese companies).

That's just my theory anyway. It's the only thing that makes sense to me, at least right now.


The above being said, I definitely see your points on YouTube and Netflix. YouTube could be fantastic free advertising for anime. I myself discovered Nanoha through YouTube, and if that never happens - Who knows? Maybe I don't end up buying a Nanoha DVD.
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Old 2014-08-12, 16:16   Link #50
DonQuigleone
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I don't think that relentlessflame was talking about, and I know that I wasn't talking about, TV ad revenue. We (or at least I) was talking about ads on the internet site that hosts the anime content.
I know. But I think the same principles apply to TV advertising as Web advertising. Furthermore, it's not a change for American TV online to rely on advertising, because American TV has always relied on advertising. Whereas for Anime to rely primarily on advertising in the same way would really require a radical change of business model from how Anime has operated thus far.

There are two arguments being tossed around:
1. Japanese producers are being too conservative and not moving with the times.
2. Japanese producers need to rely on advertising revenue to survive.

The two arguments are contradictory, as for them to suddenly rely on advertising would involve a huge change in strategy, and hence defy point 1. My guess is the real reason is that the producers want control over how the public accesses their content. Possible advertising revenue is a distant concern to preserving the old revenue model they know and rely on. My guess is that piracy doesn't fit their model, and they don't want to change their model, hence Piracy has to go.

Quote:
Advertisers generally want to advertise on sites that are getting a large following, the larger the better. So here's what I think the anime industry might be thinking - If all these online anime fans never had internet piracy to turn to, or all of these various streaming sites to turn to, many of them would turn to Crunchyroll out of sheer necessity. This would increase CR's view count, which would make CR more appealing to advertisers, which could result in bigger and better or simply more advertising deals for CR (which in turn could mean higher licensing fees to benefit various Japanese companies).

That's just my theory anyway. It's the only thing that makes sense to me, at least right now.
I don't think that's how internet advertising works. Generally, I think advertising is paid per click through, or per view. If it was purely about number of views or click throughs, they would have long since put their content on Youtube. My guess is that the money they receive from such advertising is far too paltry to come close to supporting their model. Videos with a million views can support single Youtube stars, but not 100 person Anime studios. Instead I think the appeal of Crunchyroll is that they feel like they have more control, plus they can collect subscription revenue.

Quote:
The above being said, I definitely see your points on YouTube and Netflix. YouTube could be fantastic free advertising for anime. I myself discovered Nanoha through YouTube, and if that never happens - Who knows? Maybe I don't end up buying a Nanoha DVD.
Yeah, my main worry is that the Anime community could start getting inbred :P

Lest I sound too down on everything, I think there's a lot to be optimistic for. The big advantage Anime has is how Lean they are. Most shows operate on a budget of only around ~200,000$, in the world of Entertainment that's nothing. If we're talking about Sci Fi, a Hollywood Scifi spectacular might have a budget of 100 or 200 million $, and the Anime still manages to have great special effects and be just as enjoyable. That ability to produce so much content so cheaply (particularly compared to the bloated budgets of American entertainment, or frivolous wastage of European animation) means that they can be much more resilient and also afford to be more risky in their production. Their struggle (and I think it's one being shared with most other Japanese businesses) is that they can't connect well with potential foreign consumers.

I think the fact that there are more Anime pitches on Kickstarter is a good sign.
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Old 2014-08-12, 16:53   Link #51
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Lest I sound too down on everything, I think there's a lot to be optimistic for. The big advantage Anime has is how Lean they are. Most shows operate on a budget of only around ~200,000$, in the world of Entertainment that's nothing. If we're talking about Sci Fi, a Hollywood Scifi spectacular might have a budget of 100 or 200 million $, and the Anime still manages to have great special effects and be just as enjoyable. That ability to produce so much content so cheaply (particularly compared to the bloated budgets of American entertainment, or frivolous wastage of European animation) means that they can be much more resilient and also afford to be more risky in their production. Their struggle (and I think it's one being shared with most other Japanese businesses) is that they can't connect well with potential foreign consumers.

I think the fact that there are more Anime pitches on Kickstarter is a good sign.
Come to think of it, there shouldn't be any reason why American or European entertainment content creators couldn't incorporate elements of the anime production system to produce a greater volume of diverse content for lower cost than is at present.
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Old 2014-08-12, 19:37   Link #52
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Originally Posted by aldw View Post
Come to think of it, there shouldn't be any reason why American or European entertainment content creators couldn't incorporate elements of the anime production system to produce a greater volume of diverse content for lower cost than is at present.
We've already adopted parts of that production system. It's called paying most of the staff in peanuts. Don't forget that the vast majority of people who create anime and manga can barely afford to live off of what they earn. It's one of the reasons the market is so lucrative - low pay for creators, high cost for consumers. The middle men get the largest cut.

I'd rather see a system where the creators can directly work with their consumers, or at least with as few middle men as possible. Korean comic artists have had some good success with that concept, as have some western web comics.
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Old 2014-08-12, 21:50   Link #53
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I know. But I think the same principles apply to TV advertising as Web advertising. Furthermore, it's not a change for American TV online to rely on advertising, because American TV has always relied on advertising. Whereas for Anime to rely primarily on advertising in the same way would really require a radical change of business model from how Anime has operated thus far.

There are two arguments being tossed around:
1. Japanese producers are being too conservative and not moving with the times.
2. Japanese producers need to rely on advertising revenue to survive.

The two arguments are contradictory, as for them to suddenly rely on advertising would involve a huge change in strategy, and hence defy point 1. My guess is the real reason is that the producers want control over how the public accesses their content. Possible advertising revenue is a distant concern to preserving the old revenue model they know and rely on. My guess is that piracy doesn't fit their model, and they don't want to change their model, hence Piracy has to go.
Eh, I don't think it's as big of change as you think. As you alluded to in your previous post, advertising actually does play a heavy role in anime TV broadcasts as it stands now, but it's advertising for their own products. When other people are hosting illegal streams all over the web, they cut out all the inherent advertisements and replace them with generic AdWords or whatever shadier alternatives they can get, and the revenue stays with the person illegally hosting the content. The producers don't even end up with good metrics on who is watching. It's evaporated potential. That sort of piracy certainly has to go.

I think that people who think that anime can make money the way normal American TV does vastly underestimate just how niche anime is. I've also heard people argue that they should try to make shows that would get the sort of mass-market reach that could rely on this sort of revenue stream, and they do -- in Japan. But that's not the vast majority of what the anime community here tends to watch.

As for being too conservative/not forward-thinking enough... I think it's mostly that they just move slowly. I don't think they're so backwards, but at the same time they're not ready leap as far forward as people think they should. But to be fair to them, a lot of this is still uncharted waters at this point. A lot of arm-chair pundits can give opinions about how they should really do things and be like "Oh, It'll Work, Honest!"... but business decisions aren't made that lightly.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I don't think that's how internet advertising works. Generally, I think advertising is paid per click through, or per view. If it was purely about number of views or click throughs, they would have long since put their content on Youtube. My guess is that the money they receive from such advertising is far too paltry to come close to supporting their model. Videos with a million views can support single Youtube stars, but not 100 person Anime studios. Instead I think the appeal of Crunchyroll is that they feel like they have more control, plus they can collect subscription revenue.
It's not like they haven't done experiments on Youtube and on a bunch of other platforms. But I think it's not just about the ad revenue from clickthroughs and AdWords. That's enough for pirates to make a living by stealing and streaming as much anime as possible ("your one-stop-shop for pirated anime!"), but each anime is produced by a separate production committee, and the money any one show makes on streaming ad revenue alone isn't going to make a big dent in their production budget. As you say, it needs to be tied in to merchandise, like DVDs/BDs, books, and other items -- the "media mix". They're getting a bit better about tying all these things together in some markets, but obviously it's a lot harder to pull off on a global, synchronized basis than it is in Japan.

The thing about Crunchyroll is discovery. Youtube might have a ton of viewers, but it also has an overload of content. I suspect they've found that putting clips and previews on Youtube and then directing viewers to more specialized sites for actual full episode viewing is more effective in terms of retention and leverage. Perhaps the revenue is also better that way, but here too, I'm not sure that it's anywhere near the level of being a means to any end on its own for large publishers. Plus, the other issue with Youtube is that it's still a place where a lot of pirated content can be found; how can you ensure that after watching your legit videos the algorithm won't direct people to watch illegal or quasi-legal related content, whether it's of your property or a competitor's? Or send them off to watch cat videos? Even though a lot of people watch Youtube, it's not necessarily the right tool for every job, and just making it so "billions can easily watch this for free now!" only works from a business point of view if you have some sort of clear follow-up plan.
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Old 2014-08-13, 05:54   Link #54
Netto Azure
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I find these attempts to be very half-way thought of. When launching something like this, they should at the same time invest in ways on streamlining distribution.

Take Crunchyroll for example, the whole licensing system creates weird scheduling tiers for various countries. Yes the US gets a lot of simulcasts, but Europe on the other hand waits longer.

Though this feels like the MPAA and RIAA issues again, until Apple was able to corner the mainstream digital market.
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Old 2014-08-13, 13:13   Link #55
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Eh, I don't think it's as big of change as you think. As you alluded to in your previous post, advertising actually does play a heavy role in anime TV broadcasts as it stands now, but it's advertising for their own products. When other people are hosting illegal streams all over the web, they cut out all the inherent advertisements and replace them with generic AdWords or whatever shadier alternatives they can get, and the revenue stays with the person illegally hosting the content. The producers don't even end up with good metrics on who is watching. It's evaporated potential. That sort of piracy certainly has to go.
Generally I agree with you. I think the key is that the platforms out there are currently inadequate. What's needed is some kind of Frankenstein like melding of Steam, Crunchyroll and Kickstarter, to get the revenue moving. The only thing I don't want to see is Anime being ghettoized out of the mainstream, into it's own little corner of the internet. Whatever platform evolves, it has to host comparable content from all around the world.

The other thing we're forgetting about is Manga, the two products are very closely tied together, and while Anime hasn't traditionally been "pay per view" Manga has been. All reading has traditionally been through large magazines like Jump, or tankoubon, and while Anime is a niche product, with low volumes/high prices, Manga is the opposite with high volumes/low prices. On the other hand, Manga as a whole is probably more robust, as rather then a big studio, it's often just one guy, and maybe an assistant or two, in a room.

US comic book publishers are trying to make moves into online distribution, and it would probably be best for Manga to join that platform. On the other hand, the "piracy" manga platforms are really fantastic user experiences.

Another thing I missed was that Japanese studios are not accustomed to interacting with foreign fans. If we recall, the interaction thus far has been almost entirely one way. Japanese producers haven't ever really "sold" foreigners on anime/manga, rather foreigners have always "sold" anime/manga producers on foreign distribution, either out of fandom or business reasons (I got this cheap Japanese cartoon we can fill time with on a Saturday morning). In terms of marketing and distribution, be it Piracy or legal, we've done all the work for them. It's Anime fans that prepare synopses and screenshots to hype up new shows, while I've seen almost no english language marketting coming out of Japan (and what little I have seen is usually for US DVD releases and/or quite unprofessional compared to what's being given to Japanese fans). However, margins are tight enough in the industry as is, so how can they even afford trying to court foreign fans? Especially when we consider that almost none of them speak English, and of course we can't speak Japanese.

Can anime producers have their cake and eat it? Both retain foreign fans spreading hype and distributing translations completely unpaid, while trying to gain sufficient control in order to establish a revenue stream? It's tricky, because if they're not careful, they can end out destroying what they already have. If they took down all the fansubbers, I'd be sad, but I wouldn't go to the legal channels they currently have, I'd just play more video games and watch more American TV.

And of course there is no "Disney" in Japan, each of the studios and producers are pretty small operations. In fact, it's remarkeable how Japanese industry is generally so much more fragmented then the US. It has great benefits but also weaknesses.

Last edited by Flower; 2014-08-13 at 17:18.
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Old 2014-08-13, 13:53   Link #56
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
We've already adopted parts of that production system. It's called paying most of the staff in peanuts. Don't forget that the vast majority of people who create anime and manga can barely afford to live off of what they earn. It's one of the reasons the market is so lucrative - low pay for creators, high cost for consumers. The middle men get the largest cut.

I'd rather see a system where the creators can directly work with their consumers, or at least with as few middle men as possible. Korean comic artists have had some good success with that concept, as have some western web comics.
Going to work, but not going to be implemented in Japan anytime I can see. The lack of a proper English education means that the Japanese are pretty cut-off from marketing their stuff to the outside world where they can interact directly with their fans, so they are relying on the publisher resources to get their things out to the masses.

Then again, that is what gives Japan and their culture an air of mystery. I still cannot understand how tsundere characters can be so lovable on print and anime yet so bitchy in real life.
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Old 2014-08-13, 17:13   Link #57
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This is very much a side-topic, but...

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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I still cannot understand how tsundere characters can be so lovable on print and anime yet so bitchy in real life.
I don't find tsunderes as lovable as you do, but the key difference here is that seasoned anime fans know that 99 times out of 100, tsundere behavior is mostly a mask, and shy denial can be "cute". In real life, though, similar behavior is often not just a mask.
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Old 2014-08-13, 20:33   Link #58
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I mentioned this on other forums already, but I think the results of this campaign will be mostly useless.
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Old 2014-08-13, 21:03   Link #59
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I liked CR, until every second show was "Not available in your region." They really really need to clear that shit up if they want to be able to put any dent in pirating numbers.
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Old 2014-08-13, 21:10   Link #60
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Originally Posted by Mr Hat and Clogs View Post
I liked CR, until every second show was "Not available in your region." They really really need to clear that shit up if they want to be able to put any dent in pirating numbers.
Impossible. They already sold the licences to different companies than CR in non-U.S. countries. They cannot simply "revoke" them. Of course they could change it "from now on", but it would not solve the problem of the shows that were already licensed by others who do not take part in the streaming service. Another problem is, even if those different companies had their own streaming service, who would want to pay subscription fees to ALL OF THEM?
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