Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What's The Heck Is Going On At ADV? Don't Panic.

There has been a lot of rumor milling going on since Friday about a pending disaster taking shape over at ADV, especially since ANN posted the article about certain titles being pulled from ADV's websites.

I have been quiet for a couple of days because the folks at ADV have been working on the situation, but we've been absolutely flooded with e-mails yesterday and today from panicked fans looking for any information about the situation - so many that I felt that I needed to post something about it here.

Here is what we know:

1) I appears that ADV is having some unknown trouble with their licensing partners, and that there are a number of releases that are in jeopardy of being suspended, at least for a short time.

2) The executives at ADV are currently working to get these issues resolved, and thus NO FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE regarding these issues. In fact, as of this writing there is nothing that can be announced since talks are still ongoing.

3) It has the potential to end up being an ugly situation, but as of now we DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING FOR SURE. Ultimately it may turn out to be a non-issue.

4) This is NOT another 'Geneon' situation.

I was not going to make this public, but someone has already posted a copy of this over at AOD so the cat is out of the bag now and I might as well make the following information available to everyone. This article was originally set to be posted to ICV2 yesterday, but it was pulled at the last minute and NOT published because the information it contains is NOT VERIFIED. It does NOT indicate that these titles have, in fact, been canceled. What it does indicate is that there is a serious problem that has developed over at ADV Films that management there is currently working on to try to rectify, and it was for this reason the article did not go live.

Here is the text of the article. Please keep in mind that the letter that is referenced in the article WAS NEVER SENT OUT.

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ADV Cancels 37 Titles
Anime Offerings on 'Indefinite Hiatus'

January 28, 2008

ARTICLE CANCELED
In a letter to retailers ADV Films has identified 37 anime properties including Devil May Cry, Gurren Lagann, and Pumpkin Scissors that are "on indefinite hiatus, effective immediately." The list includes virtually all of the properties that ADV has announced since its financing deal with the Sojitz Corporation in late June of 2006. The properties that ADV has announced (and released) since then are from a variety of anime studios but they were all licensed through the ARM Corporation, a subsidiary of Japan Contents Investment, an investor group that included the Sojitz Corporation, the Development Bank of Japan and KlockWorx. In its letter to retailers ADV explained: "ADV has suspended certain elements of its former alliance with ARM Corporation, which financed the acquisition of these titles. ADV is working closely with various constituencies with the goal of restoring most if not all of these properties to our release schedule at a later date to the extent possible."

The list includes properties that have already been released in their entirety such as Nerima Daikon Brothers, Guyver, and 009-1, series such as Pumpkin Scissors, Kurau Phantom Memory, and Red Garden that have only been partially released, and eagerly awaited anime such as Devil May Cry, Gurren Lagann and 5 Centimeters per Second that have been announced for later this year. The complete list of ADV anime properties on hiatus is:

009-01
5cm Per Second
Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
Air Gear
Air Movie
Air TV series
Best Student Council
Blade of the Phantom Master
Comic Party Revolution
Coyote Ragtime
Devil May Cry
Ghost Train
Gurren Lagann
Guyver
Innocent Venus
Jinki: Extend
Kanon TV Series
King of Bandit Jing: 7th Heaven
Kurau Phantom Memory
Le Chevalier D'Eon
Magikano
Moeyo Ken TV Series
Moonlight Mile
Nerima Daikon Brothers
Pani Pani Dash!
Project Blue
Pumpkin Scissors
Red Garden
Synethesia
The Wallflower
Tokyo Majin
UFO Princess Valkyrie - Third and Fourth Seasons
Utawarerumono
Venus vs. Virus
Welcome to the NHK
Xenosaga

Coming on the heels of Geneon's departure the ADV announcement is more bad news for the reeling North American Anime Industry. For the past few years ADV has been the number two anime company in the North America, with a solid 12-13% share of the anime DVD market. Recently though ADV has been showing signs of stress. It has pulled its support from its industry-leading collection of anime clubs and two weeks ago announced that it would cease publication of Newtype USA. The collapse of ADV's deal with ARM does not necessarily mean the end of one of the trailblazing American anime companies, which was founded in 1992. ADV still has an extensive library of titles including the ever-popular Neon Genesis Evangelion. Still the fate of ADV subsidiaries such as The Anime Network, the Newtype successor PiQ, and the ADV manga publishing program that includes the bestselling Yotsuba&! manga remains in the balance as does the future of one of the pioneering powerhouses of the American anime market.


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A reminder to you that THIS ARTICLE WAS CANCELED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION. It is not gospel. ADV HAS NOT provided us with any sort of official notification of what the article states. I have been in touch with management at ADV over the last couple of days and they have indicated to me that they feel the problem is solvable and will be cleared up shortly. They have not offered any comments to the press due to ongoing talks.

I have made mention in the last newsletter of the supply problems we've been having with ADV recently, and I think this goes a long way to explain things. What we need to do now is take a breath, and wait to hear some official comment from ADV. We will not be making any changes to the availablity of these titles, even if they are currently on backorder status, until ADV tells us for sure.

An hopefully NO changes will be necessary.

While we're waiting, I'm going to go have a drink....

UPDATE (1/30): I have heard what I deem as reliable information this morning that ADV is close to a solution to the licensing problems and that there is a very good level of confidence that their existing catalog will remain in-tact with nothing more than a few bumped street dates. I've been doing business with this guy for 10 years and he never bullshits me, so I think this is as good of information as we can get less than an official statement. I have verified this info through a couple other inside industry contacts and it jives. ADV will probably not be able to make any official statement though until everything is wrapped up which could be a few more days.

Smile everyone, I think we will be OK. :-)

5 comments:

Randy said...

*grin* I think you need a big "don't panic" graphic laid over the text of the article.

Even with the few edits you made saying it may turn out to be nothing, the anime fans seem to be in a pretty big panic at the moment.

Robert said...

I think you are right. Done. Very tired, it's been a long day.

CCY said...

Thanks for the update on the situation - it's good to hear that something is going on behind the scenes. Hopefully things will work out well for the execs at ADV and hopefully all the PR people at ADV aren't getting too hammered to death over the last few days. We freak out because we care, or something.

Eeeper said...

Thanks Robert for posting this. I was beginning to go crazy with the amount of forums talking about this and not much from ADV themselves.

P.S. I linked this post onto AODVD's forums so people there get some kind of reassurance.

Cheers,
Philip from Ireland.

doinkies said...

I came to your post from AoDVD. I also hope that this situation won't be as doinky as it seems from all the panicking going on and that what the guy said in your update is true. I still haven't gotten the Air and Kanon DVDs yet and I hope that they don't go out of print and that Kanon will continue to be released.

However, like you, I don't see it as a "Geneon" situation.