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|Feed from the State of the Industry panel at Otakon 2008. Transcription: bayoab
Note: ( ) is usually commenting on the panel and was not said.
Note: Feed is unedited.
11:01:36 <bay|Ota|SoI> test
11:01:57 <bay|Ota|SoI> panelists are late.. it will be starting late...
11:07:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> (lance is here and he's just joking around with the audience...)
11:08:53 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance heiskell marketing director at funimation
11:09:22 <bay|Ota|SoI> (going over history of funi)
11:10:06 <bay|Ota|SoI> jonathan brands
11:10:19 <bay|Ota|SoI> full brand manager at funimation
11:10:32 <bay|Ota|SoI> represent about 20 brands...
11:11:11 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: state of the industry.. its been through some rough times.. i dunno
11:11:17 <bay|Ota|SoI> at our panel.. it's like don't panic.. we've been in constant growth
11:11:51 <bay|Ota|SoI> i started in a cube at the ft worth office ...and then we took over multiple floors... and eventually an entire building
11:12:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> we have direct relationships with retailers... licensing.. we get licensing rights to the shows.. internet.. .we have the full internet team... digital initiatives.. we have a digital team .. the people with the cameras this weekend
11:12:32 <bay|Ota|SoI> we author our own dvds and we author bluray now
11:13:05 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: half of all the shows i've been given we have blu-ray rights for...
11:13:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> my long term plans and goals include blu-ray
11:13:31 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: if you look at a media magazine.. blu-ray is 10% of all dvd sales... in some anime shows, its 20%
11:13:43 <bay|Ota|SoI> the anime early adopter is like double the pentration of blu-ray right now
11:13:56 <bay|Ota|SoI> and so um.. it's been a lot of growth for us...
11:14:18 <bay|Ota|SoI> we've announced like 10 shows this year.. its not like funimation is going licensing crazy...
11:14:23 <bay|Ota|SoI> (having trouble keeping up with him as usual)
11:15:00 <bay|Ota|SoI> we're good, we're stable.. we part of a bigger company
11:15:16 <bay|Ota|SoI> we are rescue licensing a lot of stuff...
11:15:33 <bay|Ota|SoI> a lot of that stuff is in oct and nov... that is typically the time you release stuff for retail for holiday seasons
11:15:49 <bay|Ota|SoI> once you get from november on, your wallet won't be sweating as much
11:15:52 <bay|Ota|SoI> and we picked up a bunch of the ARM titles...
11:15:56 <bay|Ota|SoI> and some stuff like DMC asap
11:16:01 <bay|Ota|SoI> and we will be announcing stuff.. .more
11:16:07 <bay|Ota|SoI> we have the funimation channel.. it's on verizon fios
11:16:15 <bay|Ota|SoI> right now, its getting into NYC
11:16:31 <bay|Ota|SoI> its in parts of boston, phili... the best part is we are basic cable
11:16:46 <bay|Ota|SoI> that's pretty much.. ours
11:16:52 <bay|Ota|SoI> id like to have other perspectives but nobody else is around...
11:16:58 <bay|Ota|SoI> i mean... the industry is going to survive
11:17:10 <bay|Ota|SoI> if you see the series, and you like the series, support the series
11:17:17 <bay|Ota|SoI> download the legal copy..
11:17:20 <bay|Ota|SoI> we're on playstation..
11:17:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> (mentioning anime getting the nice position on psn)
11:17:54 <bay|Ota|SoI> they got their own button because of the amount of anime content they gave them
11:18:01 <bay|Ota|SoI> xbox... etc... and youtube
11:18:10 <bay|Ota|SoI> our bread and butter will be dvd and bluray despite going digital
11:18:20 <bay|Ota|SoI> and the older fans will still prefer dvd and bluray
11:18:44 <bay|Ota|SoI> the cons are getting younger and younger and they are switching to digital.. or they cry about not having money for anime...
11:18:53 <bay|Ota|SoI> so we have stuff like youtube where we are putting up 4 eps a week
11:18:59 <bay|Ota|SoI> ad supported...
11:19:04 <bay|Ota|SoI> the ads are not obtrusive...
11:19:13 <bay|Ota|SoI> if you like the ad, click it because that supports it...
11:19:46 <bay|Ota|SoI> did you guys go to the voice actors panel? was it packed... i think the voice actors are getting wider and wider recognition
11:19:50 <bay|Ota|SoI> they work their assess off
11:19:59 <bay|Ota|SoI> they really do a lot
11:20:27 <bay|Ota|SoI> (many of them are multi-talented and do scripts and other stuff in addition to acting)
11:20:53 <bay|Ota|SoI> i was just really happy with the huge crowds... i know 2 years ago it was where the cafe was which held 200 people... this year was like packed....
11:21:07 <bay|Ota|SoI> q and a...
11:22:38 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: what kind of stuff are you looking for in voice actors? a: jon: don't persay be a voice actor.. be an actor.. if you want to try to be a voice actor, then you can submit your resume, but the hardest part right now.. all the acting is done in NY, texas and LA ..and canada.. for the most part...
11:22:48 <bay|Ota|SoI> unless you like live in one of those major series, you can't submit your resume and they won't call you
11:23:29 <bay|Ota|SoI> you have to live in the city...
11:23:52 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: how does funimation intends to rescue these titles? what do you plan to do differently?
11:24:15 <bay|Ota|SoI> a: lance: i can tell you what our efforts will do for them.. we are going to relaunch the series...
11:25:24 <bay|Ota|SoI> (he's talking about all the distribution network that funi has to market the series)
11:26:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: getting those digital rights help..
11:26:46 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: we got to 22 cons a year...
11:27:03 <bay|Ota|SoI> and with the shows.. there are other cons that they help out..
11:27:04 <bay|Ota|SoI> and also operation anime..
11:27:47 <bay|Ota|SoI> for anime clubs.. it's been growing immensely through libraries
11:27:58 <bay|Ota|SoI> they all have a YA section for manga.. and they are clamoring for anime
11:28:20 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: basically... most of us don't hit the libraries much, but when you are 9-10,
11:28:22 <bay|Ota|SoI> getting it for free
11:28:37 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: yea.. you can check it out for free and see if you want it for your collection
11:28:48 <bay|Ota|SoI> and for libraries and clubs, we give discounts for rightstuf for them to buy more things
11:29:07 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: speaking of the 9-10 yr old potential fan, there aren't a lot of titles right now for the younger generation...
11:29:23 <bay|Ota|SoI> im a parent looking for age appropriate stuff for kids...
11:29:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> im not seeing replacement titles for things that are getting cancelled like hng... any plans for funi to go after it
11:29:54 <bay|Ota|SoI> a: lance: unfortunately no, we are targeting the 13 market.. most of our dvd sales are predominantly 18
11:30:07 <bay|Ota|SoI> for the kids shows.. its about licensing and being on tv
11:30:17 <bay|Ota|SoI> our company is more about the dvd
11:30:18 <bay|Ota|SoI> 4kids has done some...
11:30:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> viz and blue dragon right now
11:30:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: when you look at us and viz.. they focus on the 9-12 and they do a great job at it...
11:30:44 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: every company has their forte
11:31:19 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: it seems that what you believe the recent problems.. you have addressed as marketing solutions... do you think the result of the glut is something that can be fixed with marketing or a demo change?
11:31:38 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: i think the glut is the stories and plot... sometimes when you buy a show.. you have to get the younger brother and sisters..
11:31:48 <bay|Ota|SoI> some shows we really wanted came with younger brothers and sisters... and we passed
11:31:59 <bay|Ota|SoI> but we got fmp with kadokawa... and they were like.. can you get shuffle?
11:32:11 <bay|Ota|SoI> and they didn't consider it to be a sister because it would be a target audience
11:32:16 <bay|Ota|SoI> they would have to pay an advance..
11:32:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> and thats their bet that people would buy the dvd
11:32:43 <bay|Ota|SoI> what was happening in 2001, 2003-2004.. videoscan rates all the sales.. and i nerd out on videoscan
11:33:18 <bay|Ota|SoI> but... a lot of what it was.. you would get a show ... but it would be released in 2005 but basing it on 03 and 04 numbers with the glut
11:33:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> but the overall dvd units for certain titles haven't hit in the past..
11:33:38 <bay|Ota|SoI> we're actually 4% over in units sold from last year
11:33:45 <bay|Ota|SoI> and then some companies lost market share
11:34:37 <bay|Ota|SoI> (talking about how they negotiate for shows to get prices down for shows that wouldn't break even at the offering price)
11:35:03 <bay|Ota|SoI> (Some companies get the brothers and sisters.. they don't sell, they get massive numbers of returns...)
11:35:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> support a show at the very beginning if you like a show...
11:35:30 <bay|Ota|SoI> (and the companies plummet down)
11:36:01 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: 10 years ago, there were shirts to buy anime.. and those went away..
11:36:34 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: we've reduce the price and cut the release time on titles like ouran from the old standard
11:37:03 <bay|Ota|SoI> some shows granted, we will do volumes... either a) because the licensor isn't used to the model.. or b) some shows they want to do cooler packaging and cooler extras and interesting stuff
11:37:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> and showcase piece like with claymore
11:37:18 <bay|Ota|SoI> and with the amount of license that they pay for it sometimes dictates it...
11:37:41 <bay|Ota|SoI> this is more of a test... we're not 100% certain that the 13 episodes for $60 will work.. we haven't tested with many genres..
11:37:45 <bay|Ota|SoI> we can't put all th eggs in the basket....
11:37:58 <bay|Ota|SoI> with the 13 eps box sets
11:38:23 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: relating to what you were saying... what would you consider a good target level for a volume or box set... ?
11:38:43 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: the sad factor is we are public company so we can't... but for A titles, its higher.. but its nothing like video games...
11:38:46 <bay|Ota|SoI> its more like small press publishing
11:39:31 <bay|Ota|SoI> you can't say numbers... its one of those things...
11:39:55 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: any plans on getting involved with comcast...
11:40:06 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: i like comcast...
11:40:33 <bay|Ota|SoI> (they digress to their softball team)
11:41:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: do you plan on airing more of your licensed shows on the funimation channel?
11:41:32 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: oh yes... nyaf.. we have lots more..
11:41:42 <bay|Ota|SoI> we did a little transition where things moved from funimation to onpsat?
11:42:01 <bay|Ota|SoI> 6 news shows in october... now that we have these new shows.. we're planning that out.. trying to do vod as possible
11:42:05 <bay|Ota|SoI> working with lots of provides
11:42:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> thats one area of growth that we are in
11:42:20 <bay|Ota|SoI> the networks are not really into adding new channels..
11:42:28 <bay|Ota|SoI> we're holding fast with fios...
11:42:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> thank you for watching reruns.. you will get new shows soon
11:43:12 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: acquiring other 4kids titles?
11:43:18 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: they kinda of do their own channel....
11:43:31 <bay|Ota|SoI> er... scratch that...
11:43:52 <bay|Ota|SoI> (that became a mess...)
11:44:03 <bay|Ota|SoI> (there was confusion on both ends)
11:44:36 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: has funimation's target audience changed over the years?
11:45:16 <bay|Ota|SoI> (talking about old edited shows... and how uncut stuff is now...)
11:45:48 <bay|Ota|SoI> (talking about funi history again)
11:46:14 <bay|Ota|SoI> (talking about how ifctv shows everything uncut)
11:46:52 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: you said you do productions.. do you do original productions other than licensing? and on a second note.. leaning more toward mini-series?
11:47:32 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: you always want to kinda self produce because you can make a little more money vs licensing when you only have the show for a few years...
11:47:39 <bay|Ota|SoI> but its very expensive to do..
11:47:41 <bay|Ota|SoI> adv was able to do a few...
11:47:48 <bay|Ota|SoI> i think thats a goal as a company to get to that level
11:48:10 <bay|Ota|SoI> cartoon network.. they are moving toward all their self produced shows...
11:48:15 <bay|Ota|SoI> we've invested in titles before like afro-samurai..
11:49:19 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: specifically about zero no tsukaima.. any news about the release?
11:49:28 <bay|Ota|SoI> a: next year.. early... single sets or vol by vol....
11:50:02 <bay|Ota|SoI> a: next year.. early... single sets or vol by vol?.... we'll know more by novembebr....*
11:50:13 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: we've been going crazy at the office.. crazy good that is...
11:51:04 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: is funimation getting into live action series or drama series?
11:51:33 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: we haven't really gone into live action.. trying to find someone who is familiar with it to acquire it and get it into retail.. unfrotunatelly. its not on our radar
11:52:35 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: we've expanded into the live action films in the past year.. and the better those do, the more we can expand our catalogue
11:52:55 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: does funimation have plans for other license rescues from other companies?
11:52:58 <bay|Ota|SoI> cpm stuff....
11:53:07 <bay|Ota|SoI> a: jon: im working on love hina right now..
11:53:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: its materialls...
11:53:31 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: one of the things im learning.. the shows from the late 90s.. the transfer from analog to digital archiving.. some of the older shows.. its slower to get the materials..
11:53:40 <bay|Ota|SoI> when its digital, they just ftp it to us.. but otherwise they have to go to the vault..
11:53:49 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: that's why it took so long when we licensed rescued slayers...
11:53:49 <bay|Ota|SoI> and also kodocha
11:54:29 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: you say people should support the industry.. but there are people who say the industry isn't a charity?
11:56:30 <bay|Ota|SoI> (basically, you don't need to buy dvds, but buying anything that supports the industry helps and increases it...)
11:56:39 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: enough paper cranes for the second season for fruits basket?
11:56:57 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance: it's hard... japan isn't used to it
11:57:03 <bay|Ota|SoI> they are used to a season unlike the US where they just keep making stuff that does well
11:57:09 <bay|Ota|SoI> don't hold your breath
11:58:05 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: heard yesterday.. its the retailers that are hurt first and it trickles down to the companies...
11:58:15 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance; with the retailers... if they buy the vol 1 and it doesn't sell.. they buy less of future vols and it hurts us
11:58:26 <bay|Ota|SoI> q: so which retailers do you try and sell your goods?
11:58:30 <bay|Ota|SoI> lance; all of them have anime sections...
11:59:06 <bay|Ota|SoI> jon: the more retailers we have, the more dvds we have.. and the more you buy from that retailer, the more they buy from us