July 02, 2007

Responding to Ani-nouto's latest ADV post

Ani-nouto responds to an interview with ADV's Ledford here.

Not sure where to begin, honestly. It's tempting to start with "your conclusions about the business model are fallacious", but it's not really an argument I want to get drawn into, because I hate defending a position on the basis of information I can't share. I can say that no, the situation's more complicated than that, and while it's possible to decipher the whole thing from public information, you'd have to be a lucky genius to manage it.

I can say that the reason ADV is more worried about the performance of "B" stuff (the niche titles that some people enjoy, even if you personally don't) is because they operate much more comfortably IN that niche than the other companies. Because ADV runs its own production studio, its costs of production are significantly lower than the studios which contract out most of their work. Thus, they can turn a profit on marginal sellers where another company would post a loss, and they're more likely to pick up a marginal title because of this - in fact, having enough titles to keep busy is more important in that situation (and ADV, unlike most of its competition, can't count on its Japanese parent company to hand it licenses if the well runs dry.)

In that situation, wouldn't you -expect- them to express concern about a particular pattern that affected marginal titles negatively?

As far as the data goes, I mean, I didn't run a multivariable regression on it or anything (didn't learn to do that until after I left, heh.) But I've seen the figures and they -really do- suggest that conclusion. Again, it's not like I can parade them in front of anyone to convince them, but I can point out that I myself concur.

Finally, there's a very limited number of true hits available - and out of that, there's an even smaller number that are open for bidding. (Bandai isn't going to hand off Gundam, for example, and a number of titles are already licensed even as they enter the production phase - can't bid if one of your competitors was in on the ground floor!) All the companies bid heavily for those titles, because there's an order-of-magnitude difference between a hot seller and an average one. Nobody wins the bid every time. Nobody could AFFORD to win the bid every time - shows are overbid all the time as it is, and not just hot shows, but even crappy stuff that rational people would ask "why would you have paid any money for this show?" So if your anime company can't put out a show that's not a runaway hit, it's doomed in the long run anyway...

Finally, stow the venom, 'kay? I'm hardly a Ledford worshiper - any grudge you might have with him, well, it ain't a patch on getting laid off by him. But as oddball as he is, when he's talking about something on which he's got data, and you don't, and he happens to be -correct-, there's no reason to call him names just because you don't like how the argument's going.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at 12:04 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 I thought his comments to the effect that anime fans should buy more than just the titles they want to watch were rather silly. That just isn't how markets work. I buy what I want to buy; the idea that I should buy stuff from ADV (or Funi, or Geneon) that I don't care about just to contribute money to them is a dumb one. It's also not realistic.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 02, 2007 10:07 AM (+rSRq)

2 Granted, but I didn't see that come up in the interview in question.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 02, 2007 11:49 AM (dlP4b)

3 Do you think ADV will be able to turn a profit on Xenosaga: The Animation? There's a title with a niche audience so small I suspect Toei regrets making it in the first place.

Posted by: Will at July 09, 2007 10:27 PM (olS40)

4 I'd be shocked if they didn't. You say "so small", but that's still a few hundred thousand gamers - it doesn't take many of those to translate into "hit" numbers for an anime release.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 10, 2007 01:39 PM (dlP4b)

5

Maybe I just don't have a good feel for how many units constitutes a "hit" in the anime market. Xenosaga, as a game, performed well below expectations.

Posted by: Will at July 10, 2007 03:45 PM (SOx9v)

6 That's more or less my point. ;p The very hottest anime titles would be considered complete and abject failures as console games, going off sales numbers alone. A video game that sold the same number of units as the "average" anime would get practically the whole company fired.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 10, 2007 06:40 PM (dlP4b)

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