Matt PNiewski, on Apr 15 2010, 12:35 PM, said:
Except you forget one thing- Most of these people do not get royalties. Only the people up at the top, and the people from the Japanese side have since already made a profit, and have no interest in the American release other than merchandising (which is handled through a different set of hands anyway) and the initial payment for the series, which gets invested back into the company. By the time royalities come in to the two people who recieved them, everyone has been paid and it's pure profit coming in. If they didn't make a profit, and counted on the international release, they are terrible businessmen.
In other words, Japan already got paid. So you can take that out right off the bat.
Even if they are being paid that money is then taken and placed into the business end and added into making other productions, and through that the animators get paid.
Now, these people have to make a profit. The company pays the people, and hopes to win profit off the investment. By this time, there is no garauntee that the anime is going to be a success.... But WAIT! People have already seen episodes online. They decide "Yes, I know I like this." Hence, they pay for it. Buy it legitimitely.
Except for the fact that there's a good portion of people that say, "yes I like it, but NO, I don't want to pay 50 dollars for an anime release when I can get it all on line for Free!" So saying that people will just run out and buy it isn't all that accurate either I'm sorry to say. We live in a "Gimmie it now" time period, where people can't wait to get something. So once they have what they want, a portion of them, not all, will go and just pass by buying the anime.
Fact of the matter is, many people who will download will still buy legitely. If not, they will still help spread the word. Which increases the profit. As I pointed out, Anime like Bleach and Naruto were huge hits before the release, and are still the most profitable in America. Had these not gotten exposure, would they have made as much money? I highly doubt it, considering that the marketing for anime is surprisingly limited.
Bleach and Naruto were both already well known properties in Japan. The companies that look into licensing and buying the shows already know this because of the marketing division in the animation company in Japan. Naruto was only turned into an anime after it was clear that the sales of the manga were high, same for Bleach. The publishers in Japan, I believe, work pretty closely with the Animation industry to point out which manga is pulling in the most numbers, thus will be the most profitable. They probably would have made as much money due to the nature of the shows. One has ninjas, and kids love ninjas, the other has characters dressed as Samurai. Considering how well both ideas play out in the media and to kids, I think they would have sold pretty well.
Yes people will buy it legit, the question is how much and when, and spread the word? Outside of spreading the word where to download the show not a lot of people run out and say, "Oh you can buy this at Best buy." How many honestly do that. Most have to look it up themself.
Also, if you are rationalizing that this is the reason for the large mark up on anime, why not other foreign releases? Tokyo Shock has been redubbing and subtitling old Toho classics and selling them for no more than 20 dollars, and the same amount of work goes in? Or even when it comes to releases from countries like France? I never saw Triplet's of Bellville topping at 29 dollars. How about Persepolis?
The reason for the mark up is simply because of the target audience's willingness to pay for such things.
Yes I agree that the mark up happens due to willingness to pay. It's how most businesses do it. PS3 for example was what, 600 when it first came out, and it was dropped when people didn't want to pay that price for it. Some did, most didn't, but it still sold units. Foreign films are released more subbed then dubbed, so you can subract the cost for cast to replace the voices, also it's shorter in running time. This means that you probably would not have to pay a lot of money for the actors or the staff to come in and play it. Throw in that foreign tends to be niche in some cases, and that older shows can be licensed cheaper, it's easier for a movie like the triplets of Bellville to be cheaper then a box set season. I haven't seen box set season of any TV shows from Japan that are not anime licensed here in the US. I've seen movies but not the shows.
The amount of work and quality of it depends on the study that licensed the movie. Some are actually pretty bad, some are really good.
@Kitsu-chan: Wasn't there some trouble with the agreement with ADV for that series in the first place?