AmeCon 2010 State of the Industry Panel

1:37:55 PM: State of the Industry panel is starting, Andrew Partridge of Beez, Tony Allen of MVM and committee leader Will Blewitt attending.

1:38:50 PM: Tony is going to kick off with some MVM news.

1:39:40 PM: No new acquisitions from MVM other than what’s already been announced. 6th Sep Moribito. First venture into departing from single discs

1:40:10 PM: October – Blade of the Immortal, cost a lot so it is coming out in single discs despite the new direction.

1:41:14 PM: Blade of the Immortal is 3 individual volumes. New Slayers series also licensed (Revolution and Evolution-R).

1:41:48 PM: MVM are hoping to have some new acquisitions in 2011. They have also started going into live-action titles.

1:42:33 PM: Tony compares live-action sales of around 20,000 units for the same effort and the same cost as an anime which may sell a few hundred.

1:42:54 PM: Even the dodgy B-movie stuff has done really well, getting into places like ASDA.

1:43:24 PM: Older series are being reissued as fatpacks at a rate of around 4 a month, at reasonable prices.

1:44:15 PM: Andrew asks the audience how many people would be interested in live-action Japanese TV series.

1:45:01 PM: Someone asks Andrew what are the chances of Turn-A Gundam, he said to ask at the Beez panel.

1:47:36 PM: Andrew asks what people think about the feasibility of international releases at Japanese price points.

1:47:47 PM: The answer is a rousing noooooo from the audience.

1:50:08 PM: Andrew asks what the audience thinks of the idea of Japanese companies directly entering into the English language market.

1:52:42 PM: The reply is a general feeling that Japanese companies may not understand Western markets. The example of Toei and Slam Dunk was cited.

1:54:06 PM: Andrew brings up the subject of Crunchyroll, it turns out there are a few people in the audience who have not heard of it.

1:55:26 PM: Fudce asks how MVM and Beez are dealing with Funimation’s apparent vacuuming up of licences.

1:56:00 PM: Andrew replies that it is a bit of a mixed bag and says that Funimation are somewhat the Madman of America now.

1:56:43 PM: Tony remarks that it was MVM who really launched Funimation into the UK market with titles such as Fullmetal Alchemist.

1:57:07 PM: This changed when Funimation was bought by Navarre who already had a UK distribution deal with Revelation.

1:57:27 PM: Tony says it is quite frustrating when the UK rights just sit there and are not available for sublicensing.

1:58:20 PM: He cites Chobits, his licence for this expired and when he went back to Kodansha, he was told it had been bolted on to the Funi US deal.

1:59:11 PM: He also mentions the case of a French company that was sitting on UK rights for Dragonball Z.

2:00:23 PM: Baccano is coming out this year from Manga, in October or so.

2:00:54 PM: I asked Tony if he has any plans for Blu-Ray releases, he says the minimum print run for them is around 3000.

2:01:20 PM: He does have some Blu-Ray rights but at this point he is just in the position of waiting and seeing.

2:01:57 PM: Apparently Evangelion 1.11 made up the bulk of 5,000 unit sales on launch.

2:03:15 PM: Andrew says that Blu-Ray production costs are very high and consequently it would be very hard to put titles out at prices people would pay.

2:04:13 PM: Andrew says that companies like Apple are more into HD downloads but the Japanese companies are leery of allowing this kind of thing.

2:05:14 PM: Someone mentions that people are willing to pay for well constructed online streaming services, Andrew says he likes Spotify.

2:07:28 PM: I asked about Bandai Channel’s yet-to-materialise European launch. Andrew says they are still working out how to adapt it to Western markets

2:07:52 PM: More user research is necessary before it becomes a viable platform.

2:08:59 PM: Tony grumbles that Andrew and Jerome are always grabbing up new titles so he tends to look towards older ones.

2:09:36 PM: Tony says that old series that have fallen through the cracks can often do really well and he cites FLCL.

2:10:04 PM: He says his contract for FLCL is entirely in Japanese, they wouldn’t give him an English version.

2:11:04 PM: He also says that it’s often possible to get reasonable deals on older titles.

2:12:34 PM: Andrew says he’s interested in looking at older titles now that he has the necessary remit to do so, he mentions Irresponsible Captain Tylor

2:13:56 PM: Andrew says that old titles can have down sides such as the difficulty of PAL masters.

2:15:34 PM: Someone asks just how bad the market in Japan is, Andrew mimes chugging from a bottle of Captain Morgan! ROFL

2:16:48 PM: Andrew says that fans are finally starting to realise there are things they can do to help, like supporting services such as Crunchyroll.

2:17:12 PM: Tony suggests that the questioner should read the half-page article from Johnathan Clements in this month’s NEO Magazine.

2:18:45 PM: Someone asks if the Emergency Budget has affected them at all, Andrew says the VAT rise affects all companies.

2:21:31 PM: Someone asks if the Funimation buy-up of the Tenchi TV shows is preventing a UK relaunch of those. Tony says it’s not something he’d revisit

2:22:02 PM: Panel is coming to an end, there will be a short break and then the Beez panel is on.

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