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|Feed from the State of the Anime Industry panel at New York Anime Festival 2008. Transcription: bayoab
Note: ( ) is usually commenting on the panel and was not said.
This is unedited.
12:18:44 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> Going to get started
12:18:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> and if any other panelists arrive... we will bring them up
12:18:55 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> let's introduce who we have...
12:19:03 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> the state of the anime industry panel...
12:19:21 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> roland kelts, the moderator... author of japanamerica
12:19:39 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> panelists: adam sheehan from funimation, senior events manager
12:19:47 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin mckiever(??), harmony gold
12:19:54 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris mcdonald, owner/editor in chief ANN
12:20:16 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> ken iyadomi, president and CEO bandai ent
12:20:39 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> delving into a hot topic.. the state of the anime industry...
12:21:18 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> going to start with the obvious
12:21:27 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> dvd sales in general have bee dropping off year to year...
12:21:28 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> been
12:21:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> in anime industry, the dvd drop has been in a sharp decline even as the interest in anime continues to grow
12:22:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> anime cons happen every weekend across the US and most continue to break attendance records...
12:22:23 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> the passion for anime, w hich interests those in hollywood, but the degree to which the fans love the content grows
12:22:37 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> but the monitizing continues to be an enormous challange as the industry grows and go forward
12:22:58 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> the first question for the panelists: what kinds of reactions/responses and proactive measures are you taking, or do you see others taking....
12:23:34 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> to address this shift int he industry from 700 mil in 2003 down to 250(?) millino
12:23:46 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> ken: it's been tough... as he mentioned, dvd sales have declined a lot..
12:24:27 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> 10 years ago, we had the challange of shipping anime tv series to retailers...
12:24:42 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> when tv series were put on the market it hurt them because of the difference in price points
12:24:47 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> its still cheaper than japan however
12:24:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (heavily paraphrased)
12:25:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they've been trying to find a price point where they can still do business in the US
12:25:39 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they have been studying difference release types (The double pack releases), and they want to do entire sets, but there is still resistance with licensors in japan
12:26:19 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris: one of the things we have to be careful about when we look at the industry is to understand it isn't exclusively a dvd industry
12:26:25 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> this will greatly depend on the titlle and company
12:26:50 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> for a series like naruto, they don't care about dvd sales, they care about licensing...
12:26:53 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> for others, dvd matters
12:27:32 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> i don't think boxed media will ever be as big as in the 90s
12:28:16 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> one of the reasons the dvd market is there is online competition
12:28:21 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> the majority of it is not monitized by the companies
12:28:38 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> one of the things the companies have to do, is they have to make money off stuff that doesn't cost you money..
12:28:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (you the consumer)
12:29:14 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> there is no solution that has been found yet for the market, but they are looking at things outside of dvd sales...
12:30:25 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin: you have to make product that people want to see, people will buy dvds, download itunes... another thing is exploiting the new media distribution options... internet streaming, etc
12:30:31 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> run the base and make revenue off the babse...
12:30:36 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> adam: agree 100% with everyone else...
12:30:44 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> overall for funi, our sales have gone up...
12:31:04 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> a lot of the growth is watching the non-dvd market... itunes... thinpaks, etc
12:31:20 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> blu-ray is kinda a growing industry
12:31:33 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we are on itunes.. we are putting it on a bunch of different sites for pay to download and stream for free
12:31:47 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> one piece is one of the most downloaded series in a week
12:31:57 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> -in a week
12:32:35 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> trying new retail formats in the non-dvd format that are working... and the new technologies like blu-ray
12:32:39 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we still live bread and butter DVD
12:32:55 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we want to make sure we are always ready for the next big move
12:33:16 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (polling the audience)
12:33:57 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (talking about how average fans don't know that fansubs are illegal)
12:34:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (the media is just there, they can see it on youtube and don't realize...)
12:35:14 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (talking about an interview with the head of tower records)
12:35:23 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (how they used to have cheap media on 45 for sampling)
12:35:52 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (they didn't teach the cd generation this)
12:36:27 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (there is a price point issue in the US)
12:36:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> mod: how do you monitize free streaming content? what kinds of models can you use to make that happen
12:37:15 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> you have users that are habituated into watching stuff for free to a) pay a little bit or b) have some model that can generate money for users...
12:37:23 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (audience: pizza hut in show advertising)
12:37:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris: thats basically the answer.... but its really hard because there is a difference between the US and Japan...
12:38:25 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> when NA fans complain about the price of a DVD, most people point out that DVDs are 2x the price in Japan... but that isn't a fair comparison because people in japan love the series and saw it originally on tv
12:38:41 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> you come over to north america, and that is the same market for tv for dvd
12:38:56 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> when we talk about for free for the consumer, the answer is going to be advertisement...
12:39:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we don't charge our consumers anything
12:39:11 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> it's all about getting the right advertisers...
12:39:31 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> people get introduced to the anime and then go "this is awesome, im going to buy the dvd
12:39:35 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> and even if they don't buy the dvd
12:39:42 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they put something back into the industy
12:39:59 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> i don't want free online broadcast to be a loss leader, but some companies will view it that way because they see people buying DVDs
12:40:14 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> i want to profit off the airing...
12:40:52 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> iyadomi: (talking about getting anime on tv and shows on the internet for mass advertisement...)
12:41:41 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (having trouble finding the answer)
12:41:50 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (bottom line is to break even)
12:43:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (current challenge is finding where to put it to increase sales)
12:43:36 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> adam: funi is a public company so we like profit...
12:43:50 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> but it is understood that we can make more by making the first few cheap or free
12:44:10 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we're on itunes, xboxlive, hulu, psn, youtube, there are samples of anime here and there...
12:44:26 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> and you can watch ep 1-4 of a series and if you like it... then buy the DVDs
12:44:46 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> i know that tooami is gone, which is sad... but hopefully CN wants to put anime on....
12:45:03 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> and there are all the other networks putting it on
12:45:37 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we put it wherever we can... where we will get a little small amount of money for you watching it
12:45:59 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> advertising or per watch pay
12:46:30 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin: as the panel has mentioned, we are in a transitional phase....
12:46:37 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> finding new ways to monitize stuff
12:47:09 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> for all the talk about downloading... whenever the theaters show movies... the theaters are full...
12:47:29 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (also mentioning putting anime in places you would never expect)
12:48:20 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (both kevin and adam)
12:49:00 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (people will show up... even with all the downloading)
12:49:10 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (the problem is figuring out how to get them into the theaters)
12:49:17 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin above
12:49:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris: kevin mentioned something about mainstream media alos havin these challanges... normally niche markets wait for mainstream media... but it isn't something the anime industry can do
12:49:56 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> as mentioned, box media is decling across the board, but the decline in anime has been worse
12:49:59 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> so the situation is somewhat more dire
12:50:06 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> also, anime fans are typically early adopters
12:50:11 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> so there is benefit fro trying new things
12:50:26 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> as ken said, nobody found a single solution and a number of things need to be tried...
12:50:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we have to find our solution and not wait for them to find our solution
12:50:56 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> opening it up to open discussion
12:52:54 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> question: whether the producers themselves will do subbing and go direct to the fan?
12:53:35 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> ken; not only with our company, but we have been in heavy discussions.... recently namco bandai has invested in a company involved in subtitle production.. and with bandai channel... we've been trying to study how we can do simultaneous releases at the time of broadcast
12:53:40 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> but there is thing to be cleared like contracts with the tv station
12:53:46 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> hopefully we can do that soon...
12:54:14 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> question: the (.com?) model... broadcasting the model with related content with ads...
12:54:25 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> contextual advertising...
12:54:44 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris: contextual advertisng .. it's a bandai... bandaid solution...
12:55:15 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> contextual advertising is based on keywords... they now have it for video...
12:55:32 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> it's for people who aren't willing to seek out advertisers and try to sell to them
12:56:51 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> going back to your first question... contracts... are a huge hurdle with trying to clear rights... especially if something is being funded by a tv company, they usually have a 90 exclusive clause or something similar...
12:57:26 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> normally anime is made by consortiums and there are companies with their own stake in the show.... and nnormally you need all of the companies to say yes with the contracts
12:57:37 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they all have different goals...
12:57:51 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> one might want to see it in america instantly, but the other might not
12:58:28 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> q: mentioned earlier about knowing your audience instead of picking up on search terms...
12:58:35 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> with an anime audience that grows increasing diverse...
12:58:52 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> how does one go about exploiting that...
12:58:58 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> adam: our whole marketing is based on that..
12:59:13 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> our entire department is either fans or marketing people...
12:59:42 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> between those people... they sit down and go through intensive research...
13:00:49 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin: (talking about how things dont work inbetween audiences all the time)
13:01:28 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> q: panels reaction on the loss of toonami and loss of geneon... warning sign for other companies..
13:02:25 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> iyadomi: very sad to hear the news... in recent years, its been very difficult to push a show on toonami...
13:03:17 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they have to be cutting back because they have to maintain stability.... back in 2000.. they could sell 5000 units...
13:03:23 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (??)
13:03:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> chris: regarding toonami... toonami hasn't been an anime block for a while.. its been a demographic block.. it started as for animation.. but it focused on a particular age group
13:04:10 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> over time, CN realized that the anime wasn't always bringing in the most viewers...
13:04:28 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they want things where they can make money off things other than just broadcast.. its a better model for them... unfortunately for us..
13:04:45 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> since toonami really hasnt been an anime block for years... it makes sense to drop the block name...
13:05:19 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> regarding geneon.. its important to understand that they aren't gone, just changed... they aren't a small company either, they are part of a huge advertising company
13:05:47 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> for some reason, dentsu bought an anime company... and then wasn't happy with the way sales were done... it was managed based on the market continuing to explode...
13:05:51 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> they don't want to be involved in the sales/risk...
13:06:08 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> so geneon is still around, but they are a licensing firm.. they are one of several...
13:06:15 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> there are many other licensing firms that are an important part of the anime industry
13:06:19 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> that is what geneon is right now
13:06:43 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin: it's sorta interesting, you've talked about toonami before... but before toonami.. there was afternoon syndication...
13:06:59 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> now that tooami is gone, there is other stuff taking it's place
13:07:17 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> about geneon.. im under the view that the more companies there are, the better for the industry it is....
13:07:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> adam: its sad to see toonami is gone... we had dbz on there forever...
13:08:04 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we hope to get one piece back on tv at one point...
13:08:18 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> at some point.. someone will say, i can make a dollar on this somehow (Regarding getting shows)
13:08:20 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (airing)
13:09:08 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> (we're glad to pick up the geneon titles and release it, but sad they are gone because they produced a great product)
13:10:09 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> q: have any of the companies throught of utilizing non-pro podcasts for additional revenue
13:10:16 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> or to bring product to fans..
13:11:06 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> adam: (yes, we have a podcast... we are very aware of the podcasts and through PR, we will send out clips/wahtever)
13:11:34 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> kevin: we definitely like to work with podcasts because its targeted marketing at very lowcosts to possible demographics that we might normally miss
13:11:40 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> its a good low cost way to reach anime fans...
13:12:37 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> Chris: i've been waiting all panel to call bull... no offense, but the key word is there is a lot of amateur podcasts..and if you look at any company with a budget and resources.. and they are going to look for maxium return.. the points brought out are true... but they mention it's not worth dealing with thousands of people
13:13:07 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> it takes the same time and effort to get material to a podcast with 10 viewers and one with 10 million..
13:13:15 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> so they will go after the more popular ones to maximize
13:13:21 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> that isn't to say there isn't a place for podcasts...
13:14:28 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> mod: we've been talking about an industry in transition...
13:14:48 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> we've been hearing a lot of proactive measures that are being taken..
13:15:17 <bay|NYAF|SoAI> im afraid we are out of time...