Sunday, January 16, 2011

You Can't Be 'Just a Little Pregnant'

Steven DB, who abandoned legit Anime releases for torrents awhile back, seems to have found his guilty conscience - but in a rather odd way.

Steven abandoned the R1 industry a couple of years ago because no one here 'could produce what he wanted when he wanted it'. OK, fair enough. It certainly is hard to participate in the hard core Anime 'geek' community if you are relying on DVD releases. But now he is having issues downloading Anime torrents - but only from groups that rip off Crunchyroll.

Really Steven? You know what they say about being 'a little pregnant'? -_^

I think Steven's logic here is bit obtuse. He's all in. Why would he feel guilty about anything at this point?

15 comments:

Hale Adams said...

My two cents' worth in Steven's defense:

He *does* buy R1 versions of the series he downloads if they make here to these shores.

..... and that's the rub, Robert. They don't often make it to these shores, so using Crunchyroll at least puts some money in the hands of the producers, where they would not otherwise get any R1 money at all for those series. The impression I get from his post is that he sometimes uses other fansub-circles for his downloads, simply because Crunchyroll's product is sometimes pretty lousy.

(And no, I'm not pure as the driven snow, either. I've never downloaded any anime-- I'm an old dog and new tricks are hard to learn-- but I have waaaaaaay too many SonMay anime soundtrack CDs in my collection, left over from my days as an anime newbie in the mid-'90s, when I didn't know any better. [hangs head in shame] For anybody in the mid-Atlantic region, I need only say two words: Pandora's Cube. [shuffles feet])

Now, do I have a solution for the problem of bit-torrenting anime, with no revenues going to the owners and producers of a series? No. But I have to wonder if it's possible to make DVDs in small batches for export to R1. I'm thinking of the printing-on-demand services like lulu.com, which allows an author to stash an electronic, ready-to-print version of his work with Lulu, who then print as many or as few copies of his work as needed to fill orders. Has anybody tried that with DVDs?

Robert said...

Well, let me just say that I love Steven, and I love reading his blog. I'm just here to remind him that if he's going to steal Anime, he does not need to start worrying about what which parts of the industry he's hosing. Downloading hoses everyone. He needs not pick and choose which parts get screwed over less.

He *does* buy R1 versions of the series he downloads if they make here to these shores.

Well, he used to. Not so much anymore. I just don't think he see's the need. Steven's purchasing habits have always been important to us, because I've always felt that if someone like Steven stops buying Anime, that's when I can realistically say the industry is probably doomed. I'm not ready to say that just yet though.

need only say two words: Pandora's Cube.

HEH. The gal that ran the store in College Park was SUCH an asshole too!

using Crunchyroll at least puts some money in the hands of the producers

Barely. And remember, Crunchyroll has yet to make $1 in profit as a company. If Crunchyroll is our future then Anime is probably finished, because under their revenue model the only thing anyone will be able to afford produce is total shit. They only work right now because Anime is still subsidized with multiple revenue streams. That whole 'ad supported' business model was dead on arrival when it was concocteda couple years ago, and is still just as dead today. Crunchyroll will eventually have to move to a 100% subscription based model, and it won't be $7 or $10 a month, it will have to be more like $7 or $10 a show, maybe more.

Anyway, a service like Crunchyroll will never satisfy viewers like Steven. Only on Torrents can he get EVERY episode of EVERY show almost immediately at no charge, choose the best version, and get them commercial free. That's what he wants. That's what everyone wants. Torrents are like Crack.

Has anybody tried that with DVDs?

I don't think anyone is going to put up half a million dollars to make an Anime if you tell them the big revenue stream after it's TV appearance is going to be a DVD on demand scheme, and I don't know what sort of Anime series you'll get for $50,000, but it won't be anything I want to watch. :-)

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

A fascinating post and one that really speaks to the state of the industry. More people should really be paying attention to find ways to protect the anime business.

Based on the conversation here I can't say that I'm entirely confident in its future.

Still, I'd like to believe if a quality product is offered it will find its paying audience, but then again this is anime and it's different.

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

I have had no confidence in anime's future, and see nothing to indicate that I should.

I'm saddened, for I used to see the potential that anime could have, until stealing the product became the main impetus of getting it rather than a limited entry point.

Nagisa said...

Silly Steven. That's why I buy R2s.

Robert said...

Silly Steven. That's why I buy R2s.

With the exchange rate being what it is, it's too bad everyone can't afford to pay $25 per episode for R2 disks. We would import them them if there was any sort of market for them here - but there isn't.

Robert said...

This thread seems to be bringing out the best in all of us.

Nagisa said...

The exchange rate sucks, but what is a fan going to do? One of my favorite anime titles is D.C.~Da Capo~. No one is going to license it after all these years. I want to own it so I bought it. I'm hardly alone. Quite a few overseas fans do import some anime (although granted, not as many as buy domestic releases).

As for re-sellers, I'm guessing there isn't a market here because it's cheaper to just import them directly.

Although, actually, given many BD sets are starting to include English subtitles/dub I wonder why they don't distribute them here too. Granted, there is Kara no Kyoukai, Gundam Unicorn, and R.O.D..

rossalthor said...

In all honesty, I'm astonished to find that people actually still download fansubs. The pro-fansub arguments of yesteryear are just laughable when applied to today's R1 anime market.

And plus, find me one person who actually has the free time to consume all the anime that is legally availabe in America, let alone illegally, because I'd like in on what that person does for a living.

Robert said...

Quite a few overseas fans do import some anime

Not 'quite a few', only a tiny handful actually. I would guess only a few hundred fans in the entire country ever mess with R2 stuff.

As for re-sellers, I'm guessing there isn't a market here because it's cheaper to just import them directly.

There isn't a market here because there isn't a market. We can import and sell them just as cheaply as fans can import them directly - even more so, as we can buy R2 wholesale from our vendors in Tokyo. But there is just no market, so you can't make the economics work. A few hundred fans collectively can't make a market for anything. It's takes thousands and thousands.

Although, actually, given many BD sets are starting to include English subtitles/dub I wonder why they don't distribute them here too. Granted, there is Kara no Kyoukai, Gundam Unicorn, and R.O.D..

Because the US market for expensive imports is so tiny the Japanese don't care about it.

And AniPlex USA doesn't really count - as they are going to find out in short order. -_^

Toren said...

About ten years ago, I stated publicly that "in the near future, the value of anything that can be digitized will approach zero." I got a quite a load of crap from the fans for saying that, along with massive denials and endless insistence that pirated manga and anime were good for the industry. I suppose...for certain values of the word "good." Downloads have unquestionably increased the sales base for legal product by bringing more consumers into the fold. However, they have also stopped the market from developing beyond a certain point (and that point seems to be about where it is now--the R1 anime and manga markets seem stagnant, at best).
Of course, I'm as pure as the driven slush, myself. I DL anime raws because it's not like I live in Japan anymore and get what I want on TV. But if I like a series and it comes out here, I buy it. Every single time. And I have shelves full of shrink-wrapped boxes to prove it.
Anyway, pirating is here to stay and we professionals simply need to deal with it, alas, and the crippled business environment it creates. I just wish the pirates would quit trying to make excuses. Their denials bother me almost as much as their acts. The recent trend of blaming the commercial sector by claiming that all that is needed is the "right" pay download model and all will be peaches and gravy is particularly infuriating. It's been tried, many ways, and it always fails, because "free" is cheaper than "pay." And when it fails, the fans always claim it's just because it wasn't done "right."

Nagisa said...

When, by all accounts, many anime (r1) titles sell in the 1000s domestically if that, a few hundred is fairly important. Although, personally I think the number is in the 1000s but since we don't have data it's not worth arguing about.

I confess I am skeptical, though, on you being able to match the discount you can get via a popular intentional corporate website (27% off with shipping at 500 yen per item if the order is large enough). Certainly, you haven't been able to do that with calendars, CDs, or figures. For that matter, I haven't seen any reseller be able to match the cost of importing directly. I would assume people use them more for convenience than cost.

Robert said...

personally I think the number is in the 1000s but since we don't have data it's not worth arguing about.

All I can really say is that since we have actual experience bringing imports into the US market, and talk to just about everyone in the industry that sells Anime products, I think we're in a pretty good position to know this stuff.

I confess I am skeptical, though, on you being able to match the discount you can get via a popular intentional corporate website (27% off with shipping at 500 yen per item if the order is large enough).

Again, since we know what the wholesale discounts are R2 DVD's from our distributors in Tokyo. I'm really not sure why you would want to argue the point with me. Sites like CDJapan can't sell items and ship them overseas any cheaper than we can import them in bulk and ship them within the US. Again, the issue is that there is no real market, so the only benefactors of US fans that want to import DVD's or BD's will be Japanese stores that already sell these types of items. It no different than why there are so few Anime B&M stores - there are just not enough fans in almost any local market to keep a physical store open, aside from maybe a few major metro areas.

Certainly, you haven't been able to do that with calendars, CDs, or figures.

Maybe you should come and run the business for us - you seem to have forgotten more about the Anime market than I'll ever know. :-)

Robert said...

I couldn't agree more Torren. You are absolutely right.

Robert said...

Hmmm. OK, I get it. I think the real point Nagisa is trying to make is that our efforts to maintain an R1 market are worthless because they can never make a real fan happy, and people should just either download or buy directly from Japan.

Sorry, I didn't get that at first. Sometimes I'm a little slow picking stuff like that up. I always assume everyone has at least an inkling of compassion for our plight.

I'm going to close this thread now.