A month ago, Zac Bertschy had the opportunity to interview the president Aniplex of America, Henry Goto. Aniplex has brought to the United States great titles such as Durarara!! and Gurren Lagann, as well as more recent hits such as Madoka Magica. They also work with Crunchyroll and Hulu to stream currently airing series, such as Magi and Blast of Tempest (Zetsuen no Tempest). Now while the interview didn’t give out too many trade secrets, it did give some insight into some the business decisions that will hopefully will keep the going, in the midst of the competitors leaving the market.
Distribution and Direct Sells
I find it interesting that Aniplex finds themselves comfortable with being nothing more than the middle man in America between the Japanese owners, and their American Consumers. And they look to sell direct to the consumer. Only a small number of “anime specialty retail partners” sell Aniplex titles. I find this a bit interesting. While sites like Amazon does sell their licensed products, it appears that it’s not by an official relationship. It would seem to advantages to have that avenue to move merchandise, but there may be more in their agreement with Rightstuf, their published official partner.
The Recognition of the Value in Simulcast to the Fan
Mr. Goto quickly acknowledges the changes in how fans view anime. He has realized that making shows available via simulcast has to be a part of their overall distribution plan, including theater releases and merchandising. If only there were more distributors that would be in agreement with such a business model.
Success is Still Dependent of Physical Media
I am slightly disappointed, but not surprised, that sales of of tangible discs are still a determining factor in determining a shows success. Aniplex wishes to “produce collectible items which stay in people’s hearts and on their shelf space for a long time”. I would have hoped to see them mention ad revenue from their streaming partners, or through the exploration of digital downloads on places such as iTunes and Google Play. My personal preference anymore is moving from watching things on my TV, to my laptop or tablet. I would hope in the future that they explore those avenues more intently.
Handful of People
Aniplex of America has only FIVE employees. A good indication of just how small the market really is in the United States and Canada. And on that note…
Like any industry, feedback is an important process in getting companies to change, and Aniplex appears to be no different. So, if you’ve been waiting for that show to make it’s way across the ocean, making your voice heard in a positive way never hurts.
So go ahead, read the interview, and gain a brief glimpse into the Aniplex of America operations.