Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Will Sony Ever Release Blood Plus Season 2?

With so many people writing in an asking about it, I thought I'd make a short post regarding Blood Plus Season 2. Frankly, we haven't heard anything regarding future Blood + releases in several months. Sony Pictures owns the series here in the US (they distribute the DVD's through Columbia), and made the odd decision last year to release the first season up front in a boxed set, and then release the singles through main stream outlets during the course of late 2008 and into 2009. So far, Sony has managed to get 4 of the 5 Season 1 Blood + single volumes released, but vol #4 was out in January and as of June there is still no word on Vol #5. We had expected (hoped) Season #1 Vol #5 would be released in April, and an announcement on Season 2 by May, but it seems future volumes are stalled for now.

Sony has been doing quite poorly in the economic downturn, and rumor has it they may have to sell off their studio business to raise capital. 24/7 Wall Street recently reported:

Sony (SNE) is in trouble, and it is very deep trouble. For the fiscal year ending March 31, the conglomerate lost more than $1 billion on $79 billion in revenue. Sales were down by over 12%. Nearly every segment of Sony’s business did poorly. Revenue in its huge electronics division dropped 17%. The LCD TVs, PCs, and video cameras that it manufactures and markets have come under intense price pressure. TVs are close to being a commodity and almost every large consumer electronics firm is in the flat panel screen business. Sony’s video game division had an 18% drop in revenue to $10.7 billion. The business lost almost $600 million as sales of the aging PS2 dropped and the newer PS3 did not pick up that slack. The PS3 is never going to be the smashing success that Sony hoped it would be. It has fallen too far behind the extremely profitable Nintento Wii and the Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360. Sony will have to drop the price of its PS3 machine eventually if it wants to have any chance to gain market share.

The one large business that Sony owns that bears no relationship to its core consumer electronics operations is it movie studio. In the last fiscal year, the business earned $305 million, down 49%, on revenue of $7.3 billion, down 16%. The studio operating financial results are highly cyclical based on both the economy and the box office results of its films and sales of its DVDs. The concern about the premium content assets of any large company is that they will slowly lose their value over time as the Internet gives consumers access to movies and television for free, or at much lower prices than the current income from theaters and DVDs. If this is true, the value of a studio will fall further and further over time. On the other hand, if two of the largest feature film businesses were put together, the cost savings would be considerable and the marketing clout of the new entity would probably improve. Sony’s studio may be a bright spot in its earnings now, but there is very little chance that profits from the division will go up sharply and stay up. The turnaround of Sony does not depend on the studio. The turnaround of Sony depends almost completely on its electronics and game operations which make up the great majority of its sales.

Interesting analysis, and very relevant to where we are today. Sony is experiencing the same problems as US and Japanese Anime studios facing competition from free digital content. A company with the size and scope of Sony, there is probably little incentive to expend resources releasing anything in this environment that has limited sell through potential (eg - Anime).

Still, we do hope that they will eventually release the second season of Blood + on DVD, hopefully as a boxed set all at once. For now we'll just have to wait and see and try to be patient.

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