Friday, June 26, 2009

State of the R1 Industry - Less Bad is the New Good

Comic, Anime, and Game industry rag (and I say that lovingly) ICv2 reported this week on the state of the R1 Anime Industry saying the following:

"the long slide in American anime sales nearly halted in Q1 2009, with only a 2% decline in sales of anime DVDs vs. the year ago period. That 2% slide is a substantial improvement from 2008, when anime sales dropped 11% vs. 2007. Consolidation of anime companies is also continuing"

HEH. :-) They used the word 'decline' and 'improvement' in the same sentence. In business we call that sort of slight of hand analysis 'focusing on the Second Derivative', meaning that rather than looking at the actual comparative total sales levels, you are measuring the state of the industry based on the "rate of change in the rate of change" by saying that the downward slide was 'less bad' this year than the year prior to. They also don't go on to indicate that if the industry continues to drop 2% a quarter all year, it will shrink by another 8% this year (which would be another major decline). It's the same way the government is reporting the jobs numbers these days (or the NAR's national real estate numbers for that matter), in that the rate of unemployment has 'decelerated' last month, rather than focus on the fact that people are still loosing their jobs in record numbers (vis-a-vis downloading torrents and scanlations in record numbers). It's an exercise in rhetoric, but I just despise hypocrisy. I'll feel better when the numbers actually 'improve' and not until then.

ICv2 also reported that FUNimation's market share topped 40% in Q1 2009. Frankly I'm surprised it's not 60% or 70%. Based on our sales numbers, I think if you throw out anomalous unit sales (like anything sold at Walmart - cough 'Naruto' cough) from the calculation then Funi's numbers in the core market would show much higher. Having dedicated the last 12 years of my life to the R1 Anime Industry, I guess the only thing I really want to know now is if the industry should be compared to computer chips or digital buggy whips... -_^

1 comment:

Starcade said...

I was thinking, for Funi, it's about 50-60% myself, which is one reason I wonder who else is getting bought in so significant of numbers (other than Viz, because, if Funi is only 40%, then I question whether Funi hasn't been overtaken by Viz) for Funi to only have 40% of the market.

I thought they went past majority stake one year ago at AX with the Sojitz takings and the Geneon rescues.


As for the rest, I'm glad someone else has seen through some of this. Many of the "ANIME IS NOT DEAD!" types are lauding this as a hallmark that anime will come back.

WTF and _HOW_? I attribute this small of a downturn to the Best Buy anime liquidations and probable other liquidations from bankrupt chains like Circuit City and the like.