ANNCast Notes, Janurary 22, 2011

I have this love-hate thing with ANNCast; they often bring on some good guests, but the two opinionated guys put their trademark ANN spin on simple facts in a way that just makes good troll material. Aroduc can learn a thing or two from them. But anyways, take a look at the podcast page and the notes. Listen to it if you want, but I kind of made this post so you don’t really have to.

I am going to skip over the pre-interview portion, except for one morsel of food for thought in regards to Bill 156 and pushing the line. Food for thought if you did listen to the first part. And maybe if you watch Star Driver. I quote:

Yeah, school stories mean love. An interesting love-pattern is a necessity for a school. And so, with this show, “kisses” will feature throughout. (lol)

There are all sorts of kisses. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, through the glass, and so on.

All the director and I could think about was coming up with variations on kisses that were more stimulating than anything that had been depicted in anime before, including ones that would make people go, “You’re calling that a kiss!?” (lol).

Star Driver is a Sunday morning cartoon.

So, Darth Anime Drug Pusher speaketh. I take notes:

  1. This is exaggeration, but re-releases are killing the industry! Why? Because it slows down habitual buyers, and makes the scene less interesting. New licenses drives up interests.
  2. Sub-only sells (but we know this one), in terms of making ends meet and making a buck for him.
  3. Wide-release, casual-friend titles bring organic growth, not so much for immediate profit.
  4. Different retailers will experience the anime fandom’s purchasing power differently. It’s a disclaimer but it should be well noted.
  5. Zac transits into Aniplex’s expensive box sets, ROD and Rakkyo. But wait, they didn’t talk about the ROD box at all?
  6. As observed, the Garden of Sinners preorder is selling beyond expectations, confirmed Shawne. It’s beyond his expectations anyways. More importantly Shawne predicts that they will run out of them!
  7. The discussion naturally segues into that added value does promote people’s behavior in handing over money for physical goods. It’s a big reason why people do such a thing.
  8. Dissing paper-thin boxes. [Hey ADV how’s it going?] I think by cheap we all think FUNi’s SAVE line and certain S23 releases, for example. I think you know what I’m referring to, I hope. But there’s an end to that market, and Shawne highlights this spectrum in his customers.
  9. Blu-Ray uptake is serious business. So are SKUs. But that’s typical retail talk for ya. I’m not going to read too much into this but a good geek can probably shed some light on what all this is, if you are into retail talk. Basically he says at the $5-10 markup between a BD SKU and a DVD SKU, the uptake on BD is significant.
  10. The discussion goes into this “how to serve cash-only buyers” tangent. RS still takes cash and check and MO, after all. This cash customer tangent is more about generational shift than actually access. Think about it. If you were 12 years old when you watched Shuffle as it got fansubbed, you are about 18 years old now. What can we sell to kids? It’s a complex problem.
  11. This retailer can’t tell if streaming helps or hurts sales. But he is saying that streaming does combat consumer info gap and make people take plunge (if they want). It matches what TAN is doing. Man, imagine if you just make eps 1-3 of Madoka available… Or stop simulcast of Level E at ep 3.
  12. Merchandise going away? I’m not sure personally, but I agree that it is limited. I agree that we do need more merchandise in the market. There’s a lot of meat on t his question but I don’t think Shawne wanted to go into it since Zac is leading (the witness) too much :(
  13. Stockout problem with manga is huge, and he is right. By that he gives the example of trying to buy a whole series, but can’t since certain volumes are out of stock and RS can’t fulfill it or fulfill it on time. It turns away wanting buyers. And it is up to the publisher to fix this. I’d guess that it is the system that is broken, but what do I know? This problem needs a lot more exposure because it is probably the best way to state the same problem people complain about when companies drop the ball for their bottom line. It’s a negative feedback loop when you leave money on the table like this.
  14. The big picture is, well, one I can believe in. Quit blaming us for your own ineptitude, R1 industry guys. He states this at around the 59 minute mark, but it’s not in ANN’s show notes. It’s key.
  15. Borderpolcaypse is, well, not my field of interest but what Shawne said. It does affect me; I spend some money at Borders. Then again I have Amazon Prime… And RightStuf.
  16. There will be 3 Utena sets! It will be released for the collector minded. Good thing we don’t have dates yet for those of us saving up dough.
  17. “We definitely have seen new products come out.” I like how he sneaks it in there while playing it down. But it’s serious business if I read this correctly, to go back to point #1.
  18. Copyright clearance is frustrating, just like Japan!
  19. Yes, Sora no woto has a great story. People who think it’s just moe are the cancer of the industry IMO.

And that’s a wrap!

Or, wait, it’s BONUS ROUND.

I took a look at this week’s RS’s top charts after listening to the podcast. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why it’s note-worthy. First of all, this week RS is running a FUNimation sale, where they cut the usual 40% off MSRP on most of their titles. Second, FUNi recently announced a pretty nifty trio of SKUs:

  • Ga-Rei Zero DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb) Limited Edition
  • Ga-Rei Zero DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb)
  • Eden of the East Movie 1: King of Eden DVD/Blu-ray (Hyb)

The podcast briefly mentioned this. The two Ga-Rei Zero sets are different by $3 at RS, plus the LE comes with a bonus item and an artbox. That’s not important besides that most people would buy the LE, given the MSRP is at $65 and $60, respectively, for this 13-episode set. What is really important is that all three are combo DVD/BD SKUs, so it gives us a reference point to show how well BDs sell in respect to DVDs. For all the hoopla Shawne throws in the air about BD uptake, what does it really look like?

Never mind that Summer Wars BD is on the top of the DVD list as of this writing, here are the top 11 entries on the DVD chart (1/25/2010 3:30 PM EST), 11 because, you know, just in case. As you can see Summer Wars BD and DVD are both on the same list. I emphasized the combo SKUs.

  1. Summer Wars Blu-ray (Hyb)
  2. Eden of the East Movie 1: King of Eden DVD/Blu-ray (Hyb)
  3. Sacred Blacksmith DVD Complete Series (Hyb) Limited Edition
  4. Black Butler Season 1 DVD Part 1 (Hyb) Limited Edition
  5. Durarara!! Part 1 DVD (Hyb)
  6. Ga-Rei Zero DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb) Limited Edition
  7. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom DVD Part 1 (Hyb) Limited Edition
  8. Chrome Shelled Regios DVD Part 1 (Hyb) Limited Edition
  9. Black Butler Season 1 DVD Part 2 (Hyb)
  10. Summer Wars DVD (Hyb)
  11. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom DVD Part 2 (Hyb)

This is the top 10 BD list

  1. Evangelion, Neon Genesis: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance Blu-ray (Hyb)
  2. Eden of the East Movie 1: King of Eden DVD/Blu-ray (Hyb)
  3. FLCL Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb) – Classic Line
  4. Ga-Rei Zero DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb) Limited Edition
  5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Blu-ray Part 4 (Hyb)
  6. Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE OVAs Blu-ray Collection (Hyb)
  7. Chobits Blu-ray Complete Series (Hyb) – Classic Line
  8. Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 1 Blu-ray Part 4 (Hyb)
  9. Soul Eater Blu-ray Part 1 + Part 2 (Hyb)
  10. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Blu-ray Part 3 (Hyb)

It might be noteworthy to realize that Amazon is selling Summer Wars BD for about a buck less than RS’s sale price, but RS is offering a bonus item with your purchase. It shouldn’t be surprising to see Eden of the East combo topping both charts, since I can’t figure out if it’s Evangelion 2.22 or Summer Wars BD topping the BD chart I’m going to ignore them. Higashi no Eden was a hot property from 2009-2010 and it’s finally getting the full movie treatment, which kind of caps off yet extends the plot. Combine the purchase power of DVD and BD groups and naturally it’s a fast seller.

The strong slant of FUNi titles just shows that the sale is going on, really. But it also says that the DRRR hype machine is working somewhat. On the BD side, it was entirely expected because FUNi puts out far more BDs than anyone. In fact the highest non-FUNi BD title on today’s chart is, heh, Garden of Sinners, at #11 (or #12 if you account for the SKU error).

You know what that tells me? Other than Eva and Summer Wars (and maybe FLCL), RS’s BD and DVD purchase bases are one and the same–core anime fans who buys a lot of anime, on a regular basis. There’s no real distinction between the two. Considering that the Summer Wars DVD preorder numbers are just a little bit better than Rakkyo box preorder numbers, what does that say about those people choosing to buy DVDs when a BD option is present? It’s small. But once you consider that Summer Wars BD tops … one of the charts, it does mean that BD pickup has increased a good amount over the year.

We also have some confirmation on Shawne’s BD pickup theory based on DVD-BD price gap, and how it’s across the board. Summer Wars BD MSRP is $5 more than the DVD version, which is $3 with a 40% discount. Looks like $5 is a magic number. If you need confirmation, the same is repeated over at Amazon, where Casuals shop. The $16.99 (after discount) Summer Wars DVD is ranked 1155 in Movies & TV, but the $19.99 BD is ranked 341. And if we keep looking down at that rabbit hole that is Amazon sales rank, Eva 2.22 BD is at #266 at $24 after discount, and the DVD is at a whopping $13 after discount, ranked at #555. (Man, that is some cheap Eva.) My first instinct was to say Shawne was spot on, but I don’t know where the long tail curves over, so maybe he’s only somewhat right. Not only the Eva 2.22 BD $11 more than the DVD on Amazon, it’s almost twice the cost. That should suggest the narrowing gap between BD and DVD. But is it narrowed? Who knows, Eva is a title that pierced the core fan bubble by a long mile, so there might be a lot more casual buyers, among other factors. At least it doesn’t seem to be widening.

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