Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Media Blasters / Allegro Media Partnership

Media Blasters made the announcement this week that they have struck a deal with Allegro Media (a small entertainment media firm that hasn't updated the news section of their website since January) to handle sales and distribution of all Media Blasters Anime and movie labels starting in December. That includes everything published under the Anime Works, Tokyo Shock, and their other live action movie labels. Interestingly, Kitty (their adult Anime line and no doubt their most profitable) will remain in house and will not go out to Allegro.

Most of you guys probably don't know this, but Media Blasters closed up their New Jersey distribution warehouse over the summer (and sadly layed off all the staff there), and outsourced all of their retailer fulfillment to Brand X's wholesale warehousing and shipping service. That was shortly after they shut down their manga division. This transition has been one of the big causes of all the MB backorders and stockouts since July. Now, it seems, they will be moving their inventory again out to Allegro's warehouse over the next few weeks - all of this going on during the busiest selling season of the year. While MB was making a lot of promises to us back in September that weren't filled , I now expect the major stockouts and shortages to last well into January, which can't been good - especially over the holiday selling season.

Regarding the move, John Sirabella (President of Media Blasters) said that this arrangement:

"frees up Media Blasters to focus on localizing properties for the US market, developing new features and series, and producing the highest possible quality DVD, Blu-ray, and digitally distributed releases."

Really? And it has nothing to do with cost cutting due to declining revenue and market share? We'll, no one can ever say THAT publicly - except me - it seems. I've been around this business for a LONG time, and have seen a lot of Anime companies come and go. One thing I would make an observation about is that when a studio outsources their retailer fulfillment, it just means they are trying to cut costs, but when they outsource the outside sales function too, it usually means the company is either going down the tubes, or is no longer planning to pursue that aspect of the business. If you are interested in staying in the Anime business, you keep your sales function IN HOUSE. Period.

We were informed of Media Blasters deal with Allegro last Friday afternoon, before it went public on Monday. I was tempted to fire off a quick blog post to 'break' the news, but I decided to hold off for a few days - frankly because it was a little depressing and I just didn't feel like writing about it at the time. At the end of the day, I hope Media Blasters is not ending up just another casualty of the R1 downturn. Hopefully this is not the case.

Nowadays, MB is the only company left with the guts to license titles like Kanokon or Queens Blade. Come on John, stay with us man, the Anime community needs you.

7 comments:

Michael said...

Hey, speaking of Media Blasters, you wouldn't happen to have any news on their SZS volume(s) would you? It seems as though its been ages since I last heard anything about it.

Robert said...

Not a peep. They must have the license tucked away somewhere waiting for better times. They had scheduled the first DVD back in August of 2009, then it got bumped and NEVER got put back on the schedule. I HOPE they do still release it, it's one I really want to see.

MARl0 said...

Sigh...I take it this means we can't expect that Queens Blade BluRay set to arrive until like August of 2011 or something at the earliest. Yes, I pulled that date out of a hat, but it seems as likely as any other date at this point.

Robert said...

Maybe things will go our way and they will get back on track quickly once Allegro takes over. Then again...

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

Frankly, I think it's as you say: They're done, outside of the hentai stuff.

I said in an earlier comment that I really believed they were literally going hand-to-mouth, not releasing ANYTHING until they actually physically had cash on hand to do so.

So would I then be correct in saying you believe that Media Blasters has effectively sold their non-hentai catalogue to Allegro?

Ben said...

Robert said:
"One thing I would make an observation about is that when a studio outsources their retailer fulfillment, it just means they are trying to cut costs, but when they outsource the outside sales function too, it usually means the company is either going down the tubes, or is no longer planning to pursue that aspect of the business. If you are interested in staying in the Anime business, you keep your sales function IN HOUSE. Period."

Apologies for the overly-long quote, but that statement sounds like it should also apply to Bandai and their deal with Aniplex USA.

Robert said...

Apologies for the overly-long quote, but that statement sounds like it should also apply to Bandai and their deal with Aniplex USA.

Bandai always tells us that it's AniPlex that is dictating the terms and there is nothing they can do about it, but that's all BS. They are working together to try to build a new model that eliminates most or all of the retailer channel. This allows them to keep the prices high, and at the same time keep a higher profit margin. The problem is that it never works, and only ends up seriously limiting the availability of these titles to fans, and the number of copies they are ultimately able to sell.