By now we have all heard the news, I’m sure. Assuming you read any sort of anime news source. Its the buzz of the net. ADV is taking over Geneon’s sales, marketing, and distribution but not its acquisitions and production. So what does this mean for fans? Does it mean anything for us?
I don’t think it means anything for fans on the surface. In the short term, ADV will continue to license ADV type shows and Geneon will generally continue to license Geneon type shows. ADV and Geneon DVDs will probably still feel like ADV and Geneon DVDs. I don’t think Geneon DVDs will start feeling like ADV DVDs with the Geneon label slapped on them. Geneon might be a little more hesitant to license risky titles but the whole market seems to be doing that as it is.
The long term ramifications and the deeper ramifications for the industry are completely different. The problem is since I’m not even close to being an insider in the anime industry so I can only speculate at what they might even be.
We know for Geneon it is means downsizing. Tightening of the purse strings. A lot of employees will be losing their jobs. ADV will probably need a little more staff but nothing compared to how many will be leaving their current positions. Geneon will have a more powerful advertiser. ADV is gaining a huge catalogue of titles. But I’m not sure I understand the real benefit for ADV.
It has the potential to open doors for ADV to sell their product in chains they might not have been able to been able to sell at before. Lets start with an analogy. Where would you rather shop? A huge supermarket where you get everything from one store or go to 5 different stores to get your shopping done. The idea is a big chain like Best Buy or Wal-mart would rather buy 60 titles from one distributor to make an anime section on their store shelves than five titles from 12 different distributors. They will also just ignore people who only solicit one or two titles because it’s just not worth their time to deal with yet another company just to get once niche title. Plus they can usually get a discount if they order more titles from one distributor. Be combining their catalogs they can offer more of a catalog of titles to retailers. Plus if I remember correctly ADV gets a percent of the profits on any DVDs Geneon sells through them.
If you have ever looked at ADV’s total catalog you will notice that ADV also sells a bunch of DVDs that are not anime DVDs. They do this because small syndicated shows like Farscape and Andromeda don’t have their own distribution channels set up to sell their products in retail stores. They can go to big companies like Paramount and Columbia and use their distribution channels but the big boys take a big chuck of your profits to distribute through them.
*WARNING BASELESS SPECULATION* I also wonder if it’s to keep up with Funimation. From what Funimation never fails to mention at every convention they attend they have the largest market share of any company in the business. They might be partnering up to make sure they don’t get passed over by retailers who might decide to deal only with Funimation or at least give Funimation preferential treatment.
I don’t think that is completely off the mark. With this new collection, ADV will have a catalog that will definitely rival the big three. It has a ring of truth to it, isn’t that the kind of things big business are supposed to be thinking about? It probably wasn’t their only motivation but I’m sure it came up in the meetings.
I like Geneon, a lot. I think they do a quality job on their titles. Luckily, that will be something that will go unchanged. But even though ADV is staying out of that aspect, I think their influence will be felt…after all they are in charge of making the titles viable and creating market interest in them. From personal experience, I can tell you marketing controls a good bit of what goes on. So to say they won’t have a hand in licensing and the way it is localized is an attempt to spin it. I suspect we may see price changes as well. I don’t think there is a real need for a price change though except on some of the boxsets. ADV loves the thinpack so I’m sure those will start being used.
I’m not a active member of the Anime on DVD community so I don’t notice minor video error and packaging details (plus I have a small apartment and a roommate so I put all my DVDs is binders and throw away most of the packaging). So unless they change the last disk of Fate Stay/Night from it’s current image to a picture of Saber making out with Rin I don’t think I will really notice a change even if there is one.
I think it would be a good idea, if either of us can remember to do it, to ask someone who works at Geneon how much pressure they feel from ADV’s marketing department at next years Otakon.
If there is much of Geneon left to speak to. I hate saying that, but I have a feeling Geneon won’t even be a presence at events like that anymore. Otakon is all marketing so I suspect there will only be an ADV panel when they also talk about Geneon titles.
ADV has pretty aggressive marketing, so I guess we will be seeing more ad’s and such for Geneon titles between Newtype magazine and the Anime Network. Speaking of the Anime Network, which admittedly I know little about, do they already offer Geneon shows?
Newtype does have other trailers from companies that are not ADV but they are usually much less than the number of ADV shows on the trailers and previews disk. They also have shows from Illumitoon Entertainment and Right Stuf Entertainment shows on the Anime Network. I did not seen any Geneon show on their line up but it does not mean they are not there. I would bet solid money we will be seeing a lot of the more of Geneon’s popular catalog on the Anime Network and on Newtype preview disks soon enough.
As expected, the official press release about this is completely worthless. A lot of “this is great for everyone” and “we are really happy” blah blah. We have nothing to do but wait to see if we actually see any change. I don’t expect it to happen in a flash, I think we will start seeing the effects maybe as short as a year from now but really in the next three years.
Well press releases are all very carefully worded misrepresentation factories. There is a skill at reading in between the lines and a decent amount of insight into the behind the scenes politics to actually glean information from a press release. I think it’s three dots in the Corporate Lore Skill to decipher that press release (two if you took your specialty in Anime Corporations).
Possibly I’m being overly optimistic in my hope that Geneon and ADV are just teaming up. Zac Bertschy seems to think that Geneon is pretty much dead in all but name. He seems to imply that the changes will be quick and brutal. I think other than the first wave of firings they will be slow and subtle. I think Geneon will slowly just become a different flavor of ADV but not right away. I think marketing will slowly but surely bring Geneon in line with the ADV corporate culture and style. Maybe I’m wrong.
My overall view is somewhere in between. I don’t think the changes will happen in a matter of months, however I do believe there will be be big changes. As I mentioned, marketing is everything. They are the big guys and they control all the little parts of the company. If marketing doesn’t like something, more than likely it won’t happen or it will change the way they see fit. Because unfortunantly we know that selling big numbers is what it is all about. And it has to be otherwise these companies can’t stay in business. But ifthe market was buying more these factors would be slightly less significant. At this point, everyone is just trying to stay afloat.
I wonder how much Sojitz is going to have an effect on the whole deal as well. When Soijitz bailed out ADV back in the day, it supposedly changed the way ADV runs its business. I have heard jokes that they cannot take out the trash at ADV without written permission from Sojitz but I have not seen that big a difference in how ADV has been operating. It could be that I’m not privy to the back room dealings so I don’t see it. Or maybe I’m just not oberervant enough and I’m missing the big chnages in ADV releases.
No matter what happens, this is a very bad sign for the anime industry. This says that Geneon is not closing up it’s presence in the US and just going home but it does show a general sign that says Geneon thinks the market place is sickly and is scaling back as much as possible to survive. I’m pretty sure that means that their smaller companies are their going to have to change their business models or go out of business entirely. As long as fans don’t start buying more this will only continue.
Anyone who thought that adjustment in the anime industry was over will be sorely disappointed.
It certainly does not bode well. And we are powerless to stop it!
Brainwasher Detective (Hisui) Currently:
Watching School Rumble
Reading Yakitate!! Japan
Listening to Shonen Heart – Home Made Kazoku