Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowadays

Invisible Crane

Great Teacher
I mean buying just 1 volume of say Kill La Kill is bank breaking or even Space Dandy (even though the upcoming US version has more extras than the UK release) and not to mention anything released by Aniplex......is it me or is anime just becoming too expensive of a hobby to keep up with thanks to all these ultra/limited/premium editions of various shows and movies coming out
 

Peachy

Bumpkin
AUKN Staff
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

Nah.

The likes of Aniplex & Anime Limited just cater more to the crowd who have no problem dropping more cash on higher quality releases. If someone wants something at a cheaper price, there's bog standard companies who do just that.

Sometimes though, putting something in a Limited/Collectors edition with a (understandable) higher price point is a way to get a show out faster, like Kill La Kill. We would've had to wait aggges for that show in a standard edition format, luckily we were able to get collectors editions which was the only way to get the title out on the UK market so quickly.

Edit: Added some things.
 

NormanicGrav

Yume no Shima Shinen Kōen
AUKN Staff
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

To be fair the only defence that I could give with Aniplex and their prices is that they're being brought out too early than usual. Kill la Kill, Madoka Magica, Monogatari, Nisekoi and Sword Art Online had to be split up into multiple expensive sets because the original home release run wasn't done at the time and I guess there are folks out there who want the sets sooner than later. Of course we have to take into account the licensing restrictions. I can predict Sword Art Online II and possibly Irregular at Magic High School will get the same treatment with 4 sets and 3 sets respectively.

As for Anime Limited I can sort-of agree that their sets are expensive (especially with Space Dandy, though for other reasons I went for the Funimation version), but they do bring out a standard version that's reasonably priced. I do wonder if Anime Limited can lower the MSRP later on as time goes by (like for example a TV show at £39.99 will go down to £29.99) for those who only buy anime at retail.
 

HdE

Comic Book Guy
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

I'll be watching this thread with great interest.

My take? It certainly does feel at the moment that supporting UK anime releases is a costly proposition. I think this is down to two main factors:

1. The current model for putting out high-priced LE releases ahead of standard editions does create the impression that anime is a rich man's scene.

2. The UK anime marketplace doesn't currently have anything like a 'budget' line for those who want to pick up older shows, or want an anime fix but aren't financially placed to afford current releases.


I chat quite a bit with a bunch of UK anime fans over on Facebook, and it's quite tellling how their general attitude is different to what I see here on AUKN. Without the possibility of a UK distributor or moderator showing up, they speak their minds VERY directly.

Just to politely relay what I hear from these guys:

None of them are pirating anime.
Very few of them are streaming.
They're not impressed with the release strategies for Kill La Kill or Space Dandy.
They want to own physical copies of the shows they're interested in, but complain that we don't get the shows they want here.
Lots of them import retro anime from the States (Ranma 1/2, Gundam, Harlock, Cobra, etc.)
They hate multi-volume releases.
None of them want to pay more than £30 - £35 RRP for a complete series.


Now, I stress - these are THEIR points of view. Some of them jive with mine. Some of them don't. What's interesting, though, is that conversation about this stuff tends to go down much differently to how it would here. They're not interested in things like licensor requirements, costs of DVD or blu-ray authoring, or how quickly a show appears on UK shelves. They just want to be able to buy anime.

Personally, I understand a lot of the frustrations they voice, and share a few of them. Some of them are guys like me who aren't attending anime expos, feel twitchy about using sites like Up1 or Anime OnLine to buy stuff, or just flat out couldn't care less about industry level explanations for price points and release plans.
 

black1blade

Thousand Master
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

There are loads of budget titles. MVM and manga are pretty much only budget companies. For example, I got all code geass and fate zero for £75 with retail discounts. I don't really see why you would buy at retail price if you where that price sensitive. Anime is expensive to make and even the collectors editions we have over hear from anime limited are a fraction of the price of Aniplex and other Japanese companies' releases. The market of people who want high quality releases and can afford to pay a premium seem a lot more lucrative then a bunch of people that want even cheaper anime than manga and MVM provide which I don't think is possible.
 

DesuDayo

Completely Average High School Student
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

I have to hop in and say that I am extremely happy with what Anime Limited are doing. I have not bought an anime release from any other UK companies since I first began collecting due to their budget releases. They also take such a long time to release their titles (゜-゜)....

If a show is released with the bog standard I just don't buy it. I can get the same thing minus the disc by streaming so there's no point for me at least.

On the other hand, an Ultimate or Collector's Edition from Anime Limited actually makes me even more excited to watch the shows. I blind bought both Giovanni no Shima and Sakasama no Patema both in their Ultimate Edition format and it was a great experience. Recieving and unboxing Collector's Edition packages is definitely part of the fun of buying anime (´⌣`).


So I do not think buying anime is more expensive nowadays. If anything I would say that you get, at least with Ultimate- and Collector's Editions, more value for your money, even if you do in fact fork over more (≧▽≦)!


As for the Space Dandy matter i'd say we got the better deal. The US releases will have the following:
- Five Limited Edition Art Cards
- Boobies Trucker Hat
- Boobies Logo Decal
- Boobies Pennant
- Boobies Stickers
- (Set of 2) Boobies 2015 Calendar releases

There's another Exlusive Limited Edition containing similiar items.

While they certainly have more stuff, I would not trade those items for the art book that we got. I think one great extra is better than several extras that I personally wouldn't call great. Though I would not mind having that Aloha Oe hat ( ´ ▽ ` ).

Another thing that's worth mentioning is that we got Space Dandy earlier as well, about 2 months which is quite surprising. With MVM and Manga it's always the other way around with the US fans getting their Blu-rays several months earlier than UK fans.


If there's anything I miss from the Japanese Space Dandy releases it would be the Key Animation video extras, as well as the audio commentaries as I heard they were quite enjoyable.
 

GolGotha

Death Scythe
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

When I first started watching anime, my local Forbidden Planet would sell a single VHS for about £15 - £20, although you used to find a few in the bargain bin at £10. Each VHS only contained about three episodes and more often than not, would be English dub only.

So no, I don't think anime is too expensive these days, it's at the price it should of always been. But don't get me wrong, I'm all for cheaper releases, but they need to be released further down the line.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

I've been buying anime on and off since the mid 90's and no, I dont think it's getting too expensive. In my collecting prime I was importing a few hundred quid worth of dvds a month paying about £12-£18 for a dvd with four episodes on.

We've been spoiled by the race to the bottom business model that companies like adv films in the us and more so manga here in the uk adopted.

The anime limited model is something I am extremely happy with and will continue to support. I find their releases justify their price tag. Excellent sets which have got better over time Plus we are getting new shows much faster than we ever have.
 

HdE

Comic Book Guy
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

Gotta say - while everyone's putting their opinions on this over really well, and reasonably, there's some reasoning in this thread which feels -to me - a little bit short sighted. Not to deny anyone their opinion or point of view, and if you all think you're getting a good deal, that can't be argued with.

But...

black1blade said:
There are loads of budget titles. MVM and manga are pretty much only budget companies.
I disagree. If we're talking RRPs, then their releases have been pitched about right for UK punters, in my opinion. In fact, if you look at what Anime Limited have done with their standard edition releases like Cowboy Bebop, they're getting to be in about the same ballpark.

Speaking personally, as a fan and a consumer, I think that's an encouraging and positive sign.

The fact is, though, what I've said about there being no discernible 'cut price' option in the UK still stands. We don't have anything in the UK like Funimation's S.A.V.E. line. I personally wonder if the UK market could actually stand it. And let's not forget that MVM's deal of the weak isn't the same thing. That's a sales strategy / consumer incentive that could disappear whenever they decide it's not worth their while.

One thing I'll seize on here as well - not to pick on Black1blade, but I've made this point before and people seem to gloss over it every time:

black1blade said:
The market of people who want high quality releases and can afford to pay a premium seem a lot more lucrative then a bunch of people that want even cheaper anime than manga and MVM provide which I don't think is possible.
I couldn't comment on the financial / business rewards of doing things that way. But speaking for myself, I don't want cheap product. I want affordable product, at a price that's fair to both distributors and fans alike.

Currently, I think that balance is out of whack. Sorry, but something like the Kill La Kill three-volumes-at-sixty-quid-apiece plan isn't affordable. Or, perhaps it's more correct to say, isn't considered affordable by the bunch I mentioned in my last post (myself included.) The constraints the distributor has to work within are understandable. But - this is the kicker - there's a portion of the UK anime fandom that just doesn't care about those constraints, and won't buy the product if they feel it's overpriced. Some of those guys I mentioned are actively boycotting the Kill La Kill and Space Dandy releases for that reason.


Bottom line: the price we pay to indulge our pasttime is something we should be interested in. Like I said up top, if anybody on this forum feels they're getting a good deal for the asking price, then that's fairly and squarely their privilege.

But, I've said it before, and I see evidence online that supports it already: when you start charging a price that some folks feel is excessive, you alienate those customers. And high prices present a barrier to curious people looking in - the elusive new fans a niche thing like anime needs to survive, commercially speaking.

My worry is that the UK scene could conceivably get to a point where fans wanting physical media are told 'if you want it, spend £200 and have all these extras you may not be fussed about (I personally couldn't give two hoots about pendants, postcards and artbooks) or stream it.' And if that day ever comes, I fear the abrupt disappearance of the UK anime market won't be far behind.
 

black1blade

Thousand Master
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

They are probably releasing kill la kill standard later down the line. Personally, I only buy shows I have already watched (through a verity of means :twisted: ) so that when I buy them I know I enjoy them and that they are worth my sparse cash. I put down £60 for the garden of sinners DVD and that was worth it too me even though that is a large proportion of the buying stuff income I get a year (Not going to get a part time job till next year :p) because I frigging love that series. If I had lets say £50 spare income a month in the future then I would probably considering saving it for 4/5 months to import the Japanese blu rays for the quality. People who value quality will always buy physical formats even if streaming is more convenient. I find that anime limited's pricing for collectors editions is reasonable and if a show that I really loved/must own (bebop or eva) came out in ultimate ed and it wasn't more than £100 I would buy it no probs. I understand that some people want value releases and that is fine but anime DVDs and blu rays can't be sold dirt cheap. Thing is that if you get releases that aren't brand new, you can get full series on amazon for as little as £20 maybe even £10. If that isn't good value, I don't know what is.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

HdE said:
I couldn't comment on the financial / business rewards of doing things that way. But speaking for myself, I don't want cheap product. I want affordable product, at a price that's fair to both distributors and fans alike.

Currently, I think that balance is out of whack. Sorry, but something like the Kill La Kill three-volumes-at-sixty-quid-apiece plan isn't affordable. Or, perhaps it's more correct to say, isn't considered affordable by the bunch I mentioned in my last post (myself included.) The constraints the distributor has to work within are understandable. But - this is the kicker - there's a portion of the UK anime fandom that just doesn't care about those constraints, and won't buy the product if they feel it's overpriced. Some of those guys I mentioned are actively boycotting the Kill La Kill and Space Dandy releases for that reason.
And thats fair enough, as mentioned before, the collectors/ultra edition releases are priced igher due to the quicker turn around times and the all round better quality release (ie packaging, extras). If people don't want to pay that, then they don't have to, they can just wait for the lower priced standard edition somewhere down the line.

There's no getting around the initial pricing unless people want companies to just release standard editions of titles with a 9-12 longer month wait than we currently are experiencing (see Kill la kill - AL have been granted the ability to release their CEs now, but if there was no CE we wouldnt be getting any version of KlK right now).

Take away the limited and ultra editions and you're taking away a sizeable revenue stream, and letting down a considerbale chunk of the anime fandom. As it stands companies like AL are servicing fans who have a biudget and want to support nice releases, while at the same time still making their titles available in cheaper standard editions in a timely manner.

Bottom line: the price we pay to indulge our pasttime is something we should be interested in. Like I said up top, if anybody on this forum feels they're getting a good deal for the asking price, then that's fairly and squarely their privilege.
Yup i'm more than happy with what im getting for my money :)

But, I've said it before, and I see evidence online that supports it already: when you start charging a price that some folks feel is excessive, you alienate those customers.
I see online evidence that supports the current CE and UE edition release AL are putting out, you know the evidence of them actually selling. As said above, AL are currently supplying their higher tier products to a select range of anime fans, that isn't to say they won't or don't cater to the people with less of a budget though. These people though will just have to wait longer, and thats because their hands are tied, it's not just because they don't want to. If AL remove their CE and UE you are potentially alienating another group of fans and driving them in to the hands of US licensors with their artbox or limited releases.

And high prices present a barrier to curious people looking in - the elusive new fans a niche thing like anime needs to survive, commercially speaking.
Yes, but the fact AL and even Manga are putting their titles on popular streaming services like Netflix means their titles are currently hitting a larger audience than likely ever before. They can sample for close enough FREE then decide whether they like it then decide whether they can or want to buy physical media.

My worry is that the UK scene could conceivably get to a point where fans wanting physical media are told 'if you want it, spend £200 and have all these extras you may not be fussed about (I personally couldn't give two hoots about pendants, postcards and artbooks) or stream it.' And if that day ever comes, I fear the abrupt disappearance of the UK anime market won't be far behind.
That is a potential future with the way physical media is going. As we move to a streaming future, the number of physical media collectors will get smaller so the cost of pyhsical media will have to increase.
 
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

You have to give AL a chance to really get their budget model in gear. They release a year or so after the LE release, and so far that's been just Cowboy Bebop, with the first Tiger and Bunny movie coming next month.
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

For those that find AL's editions too expensive, most of them are available on Netflix. I can't overestimate how big streaming is going to become over the next few years - all 'casual' viewers will be getting their fix there, so naturally physical editions will skew more to collectors.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

Sorry about repetition, I started writing earlier and then had to go out ^^;

DesuDayo said:
If a show is released with the bog standard I just don't buy it. I can get the same thing minus the disc by streaming so there's no point for me at least.

On the other hand, an Ultimate or Collector's Edition from Anime Limited actually makes me even more excited to watch the shows.
There is so much truth in these words that it deserves repetition. Anime Limited releases are all I'm buying in the UK nowadays.

The thing is, the hobby is changing. Some people really don't stream any entertainment or pirate anime - and that's great - but they're a tiny, tiny minority, especially the group who genuinely don't pirate since you can pirate anime even with a horrible connection. The physical-first route to becoming a fan simply doesn't exist any more; it's a dead end. Back in the day, you would typically get into the hobby via the old Manga UK and its massive marketing drives aimed at the underground 'edgy' crowd (that's what hooked me, indirectly) or by watching stuff on television. Manga UK's credibility as a source of cool is long gone now; I'm certainly not saying their DVDs don't sell, but the era where you'd see a Bubblegum Crash VHS tape or someone with a GitS bag at the (mostly extinct) local comic shops and feel a sense of forbidden appeal is gone. It's not underground or cool in the same way now; everyone who has geeky hobbies already knows what Attack On Titan is and watched it (mostly illegally) a year ago. People find out about this stuff online.

The era of stumbling upon anime on television is passing by rapidly too, even though the occasional Ghibli airings and kid show reruns will probably become fond childhood memories to a handful of future fans we haven't yet met.

Most people nowadays know what anime is, even if they're not into it. Almost every Internet forum has people with anime avatars, anime fans are all over social media, and torrent site stats show that the number of people actively into and illegally downloading anime in the west is colossal. Recently, options such as Netflix have opened up a new route for casual viewers to find out more legally and in a way which works around their existing hobbies. But people aren't coming into it trained that the way they watch a new series is to buy a £20 VHS tape with two badly-dubbed episodes; they're not expecting to pay £40 for a chipboard bilingual DVD box set; they're not even coming in thinking they need to pay £10 for a barebones disaster of a release with distorted PAL-converted sound and no extras. They are watching this stuff for free online already, whether legally or illegally, and the idea of buying an inferior version simply makes no sense. It doesn't matter if it costs £10 for a set or £1; people of this generation don't want an inferior version of something they can already get.

Bad Internet connections or personal convictions are completely valid reasons to prefer physical releases - I prefer them too because I'm a traditional collector - but it's important to accept that the growth of the physical market we thought was going to happen in the 90s will now never happen. Streamers don't want to watch an inferior version on disc, for the most part. Non-streamers are a niche of a niche. The industry has to adapt to make its money from what's left of the traditional fans and try to attract as many of the streamers as they can , just to break even and continue staying in business. Nobody is going to keep green-lighting the acquisition (or production, ultimately) for shows which sell the equivalent of 500 copies at £10 a set with a production cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds. That's also why many titles never have their sequels picked up at all - and I'd rather pay a bit more now and not end up with a collection full of abandoned releases like in the 'glory days' of big discounts. Seeing unfinished 'cheap' gems like xxxHolic and Big Windup on my shelves still annoys me. I'd have gladly paid 10x more for xxxHolic if it meant I'd be able to collect its sequels one day (and ironically, I bought it twice already because the UK release looked worse than the US version - cheap releases aren't necessarily a saving).

HdE said:
We don't have anything in the UK like Funimation's S.A.V.E. line.
MVM's deal of the week is effectively doing this already, and Manga UK slash their RRPs over time until they have done the same thing without the cost of printing a different DVD cover. The fact that it only applies to a small number of releases is simply a reflection of the colossal difference in market size between the regions, and MVM don't want to completely destroy the value of their products with a permanent discount until they know that item is nearing the end of its useful life in their catalogue. It's also an undeniable fact that we can just buy Funimation's S.A.V.E. releases ourselves here if we want. Most are so cheap they'll never be hit by customs and some are even region-free. Ordering from Amazon USA is no more complicated than ordering from Amazon UK. It's not like being in a non-English speaking country without speaking fluent English, where you're entirely out of options if you can't get a local release!

At the end of the day it's not about what individuals want or personally consider affordable based on arbitrary personal factors, it's about what anime actually costs to make and distribute versus the size of the market. Nobody who is paying £40 for a CE of Kill la Kill would complain if the market exploded and we could get the same thing for £20 without Anime Limited losing money - I have no idea why the budget advocates think the premium crowd like spending more (we don't, and we have bills to pay outside anime too). If that day comes, we'll gladly embrace it. But it's not the current reality and I don't think it ever will unless we change to global releases rather than having a UK market, so we pay whatever the market will support so long as we consider it fair recompense for the anime. And if we don't like a particular show enough to pay a lot for it, we wait like we did in the old days until the prices come down. I own plenty of S.A.V.E. releases myself for shows I don't consider essential day one buys.

Nobody's taken anything away from budget buyers by adding premium releases. They'd have to wait a few years after the last Japanese disc was released regardless so there's no sense in being angry that premium fast-tracked releases are now appearing to fill the gaps for those willing to pay more. If anything the premium buyers are making niche titles more sustainable since production and BBFC approval is being taken care of for them, which benefits both sets of buyers down the line when the shows can be made available to a wider audience for less.

So in summary I don't think buying anime is way too expensive nowadays. It's still cheaper than it used to be, and hopefully it's finding a level where it can sustain niche releases again and we don't have to see companies going bust and shows being dropped on a regular basis. Budget versions tend to come out a few years later and Andrew has been very open about this right from the outset even though it potentially harms his business to say "Buy this premium edition, or wait and the show will be cheaper later!". As fans not tied to a company we can afford to be more open about discussing the realities so people can choose the best version of a show for their budget. If anyone is struggling to find affordable anime please go ahead and list titles; everyone can use their collective expertise to help find a good deal!

R
 
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

I can't overestimate how big streaming is going to become over the next few years
Tell that to the 'rural' third who were peeved by Virgin's 'upgrade' plans this week. While I love my Crunchyroll, and have enough of a download speed to let me stream, I'm lumbered with a TV that's light on apps, and which suffers from lack of developer support one year after each new model is released, so the useful apps drop month by month. It's four years old, and I wouldn't call it a Smart TV anymore. Even Youtube is being pulled this year. All that's left is Viewster, and that doesn't even work. They expect us to upgrade to new tech each year.

Streaming's overrated, especially for people who want decent surround audio, and who expect content at their control, not at the whim of content providers, server issues, app problems and the dreaded circle of buffering.

Agreed that the UK needs a budget label for anime, just to keep the classics in print. Say five years after release, a title should drop to half the original RRP and live out the rest of its license on the UK equivalent of SAVE.
 

anime_andrew

Anime Limited Representative
Industry Representative
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

NormanicGrav said:
To be fair the only defence that I could give with Aniplex and their prices is that they're being brought out too early than usual. Kill la Kill, Madoka Magica, Monogatari, Nisekoi and Sword Art Online had to be split up into multiple expensive sets because the original home release run wasn't done at the time and I guess there are folks out there who want the sets sooner than later. Of course we have to take into account the licensing restrictions. I can predict Sword Art Online II and possibly Irregular at Magic High School will get the same treatment with 4 sets and 3 sets respectively.

As for Anime Limited I can sort-of agree that their sets are expensive (especially with Space Dandy, though for other reasons I went for the Funimation version), but they do bring out a standard version that's reasonably priced. I do wonder if Anime Limited can lower the MSRP later on as time goes by (like for example a TV show at £39.99 will go down to £29.99) for those who only buy anime at retail.
Since I'm back from travelling round the world for meetings - I figured I'd discuss this :D.

I think worth keeping in mind again is that we're releasing earlier too among other points - let's take Space Dandy for example as it's actually not a bad one to say is what I would like our model to follow:

- Broadcast ended in September and we had the 1st season out on December 8th (3 months after the show ended, 9 months after S1 aired).

- Funimation's comes out on 3/3 - just under 3 months difference.

- Their collector's exclusive is actually more expensive than ours (£84.51 at today's rate vs £69.99 SRP)

- We released a standard BD set alongside for each season @ £39.99

- We will be releasing a standard complete DVD set for Seasons 1 & 2 @ £49.99 SRP

- Both seasons are available on Netflix and will become available on EST (iTunes, PSN, Xbox etc) in due course too this year.

When it comes down to collector's editions it just depends what folks want. We've covered this elsewhere but we are experimenting with other items to include but it all hinges on the title & having an idea that fits the product price.

That said I'm always re-evaluating models and prices. There's no reason prices can't slide given time too it just depends on product and what makes sense - at the end of the day I want to deliver the best we can for fans and make sure we keep the lights on etc in the office.

As JPT points out too - we're getting into the first year now of our standard editions too so you'll see those come along over the next few months with the only exception being Kill la Kill where we're unable to do much with for now due to licensor restrictions as you can imagine. Where we do have restrictions we keep evaluating how best to proceed though & regularly check in to see if we can do something new with the shows.

Hope this helps!

AP
 

anime_andrew

Anime Limited Representative
Industry Representative
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

HdE said:
I'll be watching this thread with great interest.

My take? It certainly does feel at the moment that supporting UK anime releases is a costly proposition. I think this is down to two main factors:

1. The current model for putting out high-priced LE releases ahead of standard editions does create the impression that anime is a rich man's scene.

2. The UK anime marketplace doesn't currently have anything like a 'budget' line for those who want to pick up older shows, or want an anime fix but aren't financially placed to afford current releases.
1- It definitely gives that impression - although it is less that, it's more we're stuck helping balance up a problem Japan is facing (even though we're on a different region code). Definitely not our intention and also why we push for digital accessibility on products we do (Netflix especially as we believe they deliver an exceptional viewing experience as do other SVOD services).

2 - You'll be pleasantly surprised by some of our upcoming lines then perhaps later this year - we're looking at what makes sense on that frontier right now :).

HdE said:
I chat quite a bit with a bunch of UK anime fans over on Facebook, and it's quite tellling how their general attitude is different to what I see here on AUKN. Without the possibility of a UK distributor or moderator showing up, they speak their minds VERY directly.

Just to politely relay what I hear from these guys:

None of them are pirating anime.
Very few of them are streaming.
They're not impressed with the release strategies for Kill La Kill or Space Dandy.
They want to own physical copies of the shows they're interested in, but complain that we don't get the shows they want here.
Lots of them import retro anime from the States (Ranma 1/2, Gundam, Harlock, Cobra, etc.)
They hate multi-volume releases.
None of them want to pay more than £30 - £35 RRP for a complete series.
I'd say what is worth saying is I kinda hope me being here does not remove from people talking directly. If people don't tell me what they want, they won't get it (simple as)! Doesn't mean I can deliver it if asked, but I can at least discuss / explain the logic.

Of the points raised that jives with what I know too - some things worth raising:

- Piracy is on the down definitely as legit services offering good ways to view content come in - but I'm not sure this means streaming is at a lower level as people have to watch new shows somehow and I doubt it's just due to buying more content on homevideo (SVOD / Free Streaming presents a great way to access content). Would definitely be interested to survey on that sometime!

- Kill la Kill model isn't our choice on this frontier, we're just doing the best to maximise a tough situation into one that makes sense. Personal feeling is with the OSTs / Making Of's excluded, it's better to include books for the price point we are than items like postcards or folded up posters. Am I off the mark here?

- Space Dandy - I'm pretty sure in part this is due to lack of promotion on our part for the standard editions as it's our first time to have freedom to do two models at once from the licensor so we are still fine-tuning. We will certainly ramp the dual format approach's promotion for Part 2 of Space Dandy.

Given the model described above, what more do folks want on that frontier :)? (2 x BD sets for £28.95 each approx and a complete DVD set for SRP £49.99 alongside a Collector's premium edition seems not a bad option surely?) Open to thoughts :).

HdE said:
Now, I stress - these are THEIR points of view. Some of them jive with mine. Some of them don't. What's interesting, though, is that conversation about this stuff tends to go down much differently to how it would here. They're not interested in things like licensor requirements, costs of DVD or blu-ray authoring, or how quickly a show appears on UK shelves. They just want to be able to buy anime.

Personally, I understand a lot of the frustrations they voice, and share a few of them. Some of them are guys like me who aren't attending anime expos, feel twitchy about using sites like Up1 or Anime OnLine to buy stuff, or just flat out couldn't care less about industry level explanations for price points and release plans.
I think the point is less how different folks are elsewhere - it's that there are very definitely several market segments for anime- generalising down into three rough categories (you could probably segment/quantify more):

1. Collector's Market - UK-side I'd say about 1,000 - 2,000 people who are willing to fork out on product early for high quality. Of those, about 500-1,000 out there willing to buy them over time if they're a show they love but often need to sample it and if they don't stream it this can take time or convention screenings to raise their attention

2. Mid-range market - Folks who want the product, not much fussed if it has extras so long as the price generally is lower than £30-40 for the whole show on BD and £25-30 for DVD depending on how much they love the show. Tends to want the title as soon as possible and it's not unexpected given this is basically the price range for most western TV shows.

3. Discount market - As the name says - there's an audience there who will pay no more than £20 absolute max for a complete show regardless of format. Some fall under mid-range of expecting it asap, some don't mind waiting and will pick up classic shows instead until newer shows reach their preferred point.

I'm pretty cool with all three markets (what HDE describes sounds very much mostly like segment (2) to me too, which is a very logical/sane point of view on the market too). As the year goes on we'll be able to delve a bit more into segments (2) and (3) so that's something we're looking forward to. Open to ideas on that too so hearing people's opinions is always good!

On a side note too - sadly whether people care or don't care for industry level explanations - there's very little we can do to change the situation. The prices won't magically go through the floor nor will licensors mysteriously change their mind about protecting when complete collections are possible alas - so what we do instead is experiment and talk. We can't expect everyone to understand or be particularly patient with us on it, but we do recognise there are multiple market segments and won't forget that :).

Isn't going to make me especially popular but we do try to get product out to as many folk as we can in as many ways as possible anyway!

Hope this helps - or is food for thought anyway!

AP
 

anime_andrew

Anime Limited Representative
Industry Representative
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

DesuDayo said:
So I do not think buying anime is more expensive nowadays. If anything I would say that you get, at least with Ultimate- and Collector's Editions, more value for your money, even if you do in fact fork over more (≧▽≦)!
Ultimate Editions for us were an attempt to do something crazy and different - as per Giovanni's Island or Patema Inverted, we never make the Ultimate the only way to buy the title. Our BD / DVD standards for those films are made both accessible price-wise and are pushed about quite a bit - over the next year with films we'll ramp that distribution up too :).

Objectively on the OP's topic too I'd argue though anime is no more expensive than it was before though. If you think:

6 volumes for a 24- 26 ep show -> £19.99 SRP * 6 = £119.94 (less discount than today via Amazon et al too)
3 volumes for a 10-13 ep show -> £19.99 SRP * 3 = £59.95 (less discount than today via Amazon et al too)

The brief period of DVD prices crashing pre Blu-Ray were a blip more than a trend for anime as anime distributors rapidly realised when moving to collections presented new pricing challenges.

So now for:

24-26 eps -> £59.99 - £69.99 max SRP price for BD expected on standard editions (rare to see £69.99 for standard though!)
10-13 eps -> £39.99 -£49.99 max SRP price for a standard edition usually (rarely seen £49.99 for a standard though!)

Collector's Editions do ramp the price up but again no more so by and large than the old model was where at best you got a box to hold all 6 volumes + standard cases for the rest.

You can argue all you like that the 6 volume system was the past or not - but the point is by and large (KLK / Aniplex titles being the usual exception, where it's usually around the same price as before) it costs less and comes out sooner than it used to (both digitally and physically)...

AP
 

anime_andrew

Anime Limited Representative
Industry Representative
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

Sorry for so many posts - but these are interesting posts and I like to split replies up to make them readable!

HdE said:
The fact is, though, what I've said about there being no discernible 'cut price' option in the UK still stands. We don't have anything in the UK like Funimation's S.A.V.E. line. I personally wonder if the UK market could actually stand it. And let's not forget that MVM's deal of the weak isn't the same thing. That's a sales strategy / consumer incentive that could disappear whenever they decide it's not worth their while.
We tried that with Anime Legends back at Beez - it worked alright for maybe a year or two then sales dried up for the shows and you literally couldn't shift them so it's the last stop there for a title based on very solid experience running a SAVE-esque line here.

HdE said:
One thing I'll seize on here as well - not to pick on Black1blade, but I've made this point before and people seem to gloss over it every time:

black1blade said:
The market of people who want high quality releases and can afford to pay a premium seem a lot more lucrative then a bunch of people that want even cheaper anime than manga and MVM provide which I don't think is possible.
I couldn't comment on the financial / business rewards of doing things that way. But speaking for myself, I don't want cheap product. I want affordable product, at a price that's fair to both distributors and fans alike.

Currently, I think that balance is out of whack. Sorry, but something like the Kill La Kill three-volumes-at-sixty-quid-apiece plan isn't affordable. Or, perhaps it's more correct to say, isn't considered affordable by the bunch I mentioned in my last post (myself included.) The constraints the distributor has to work within are understandable. But - this is the kicker - there's a portion of the UK anime fandom that just doesn't care about those constraints, and won't buy the product if they feel it's overpriced. Some of those guys I mentioned are actively boycotting the Kill La Kill and Space Dandy releases for that reason.
For Kill la Kill - people can boycott it if they like - we're not forcing anyone to buy it but we're working in the boundaries we have. It was 3 volumes at around the price we're at or 5 volumes for not a huge amount less than that. I stand by the fact that was the right choice for now until a cheaper version is agreed to by the licensor.

I think again people mistake not caring and not purchasing it as a magical key to us releasing a standard version. It just doesn't work that way for titles under contract sadly - we have to approve our products through Japan and if they reject it that's it.

I've raised the Space Dandy point before - but we're experimenting with dual models now and will keep tweaking that. If people want to boycott even the standard editions again that's their prerogative - but again it fixes nothing and we've made an effort to try something else there. So all that does really is hurts themselves - potentially in part due to lack of awareness of the standard editions ^^;;;.

HdE said:
My worry is that the UK scene could conceivably get to a point where fans wanting physical media are told 'if you want it, spend £200 and have all these extras you may not be fussed about (I personally couldn't give two hoots about pendants, postcards and artbooks) or stream it.' And if that day ever comes, I fear the abrupt disappearance of the UK anime market won't be far behind.
I think we're into a decade of transition - what you described above isn't so far away it's not visible. Look at the PS4 for example - the design deliberately hides the disc drive away (ask a friend who's never seen one to insert a disc with no help and watch for hilarity). That said the day for it isn't there yet and physical media isn't going to disappear.

There's tens of thousands of anime fans streaming already - of which the majority do not buy anime on physical media already so I think the fear that the UK anime market will disappear is rather hyperbolic.

Case in point - I know there were low 5 figures of people UK-side that watched G no Reconguista Episode 1 for example on streaming and I can guarantee you a minuscule fraction of that will buy homevideo.

EDIT too: The fact I even know we're talking good tens of thousands for shows in the UK is great too - it means people are switching from piracy to legal methods that pays money back to Japan too. Some of these may never buy an anime on homevideo but even by watching the show for free they are helping in some way. That makes me all kinds of proud in the community.

So TL;DR on that front is the transition is already coming and all that will change is how money is generated from the titles (ad sales instead of cheaper boxed set sales or payments to make the ads go away). I'd not worry about cheaper DVD sets going away overnight though but they may take a wee bit longer to appear sometimes given external restraints.
 

Emulsion

Stand User
Re: Is It Me Or Is Buying Anime Just Way Too Expensive Nowad

HdE said:
Some of those guys I mentioned are actively boycotting the Kill La Kill and Space Dandy releases for that reason.
I understand why with Kill la Kill, but I'm curious, these people are Boycotting Space Dandy why? price or because they think it's being split into two parts, when in actual fact Space Dandy is the complete season 1.
 
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