Toei's refusal to legally stream their biggest anime titles here

Discussion in 'Anime Industry Discussion' started by Lutga, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    I'd love to know the inside line on the whole Toei thing one day. Things seem like they're pretty sewn up in the US - but I find it ludicrous we still don't have releases of Sailor Moon here in the UK, or the streaming situation with One Piece sorted out.

    I know in the past Jerome has said something along the line of Toei refusing to release discs until the show has aired on the TV - but like that's ever going to happen in the UK.
  2. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    Insane, isn't it? I reall don't understand what's so hard about explaining to Toei that it's an unrealistic expectation, or why Toei might not accept that explanation.

    Sometimes, in spite of everything I know to the contrary, I really wonder if people actually communicate meaningfully in this biz.
  3. ConanThe3rd

    ConanThe3rd Railgun

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    I'm convinced that line about TV is a load of nonsense and chips is was made to largely cover his hide over not getting any of their properties and/or something HE mandated so that he could stack the deck in his favour (which if I was to guess was getting all the Toei stuff he wanted (OP, Dragonball) at the pace he thought could best sell (so no allowing them plebs to watch the latest One Piece episodes) without having to take on projects he didn't like whilst locking out competition from selling it (At this point? Yes, I'm convinced that if Manga doesn't fart out PAL Coasters of a Kaze Sailor Moon release that we're never going to get it) and the only reason Digimon Xross Wars and PreCure were spared was that Saban could probably buy and fire his ass into the moon if he so much as looked at him funny.
  4. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    I don't think Jerome made the TV thing up - Andrew has mentioned it too and they're both competitors who have presumably spoken to Toei directly - but I do think that when UK companies have outdated ideas of how to serve their market it feeds incorrect information back to the rights holders. Their entire job is to figure out how to make things work here. Whether or not Jerome is right about TV being the saviour of anime and legal streaming ruining it, those Toei shows are making zero money on the shelf as piracy-exclusives compared to some money if they're actually being available here. It's disappointing. Toei spend quite a considerable amount of money marketing their content in the UK (they're often at trade shows) but there's nothing for us to buy.

  5. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Mad Scientist

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    Whilst I see your point. People have already said here that if something is legally streaming, they would need an extra special CE for it to be worth a purchase. Jerome has said that the profit margins on CEs are low due the amount of work hours that go in to them. They also presumably sell less copies if they go CE, especially for the more long-running generally shonen Toei shows. So based on what people from this forum say about their purchasing habits from a release perspective, they probably aren't making much money if it streams, and we know they make obscenely low amounts of money from streaming. So it's probably just cannibalising their own income.

    It might be worth taking the majority of piracy out of the equation, because the people at my anime society, for example, aren't going to buy a legal copy, there's nothing that can be done about them. (Even releasing series for a fiver, one week after they've finished probably wouldn't cut it.) And the people who will buy a legal copy after via a VPN or torrent, only very few of them are even capable of importing, let alone would do so just to spite Manga. As painful as it might be, it's worth noting that there's probably a solid economic case for blocking legal streams. If there wasn't, his colleagues and investors would probably demand he put stuff on a platform and/or stopped buying streaming rights just to block them. Buy streaming rights can't be cheap, there's no way his investors would be allowing him to do it without using them, if there wasn't a solid economic argument behind it.

    In this specific case, it might be worth noting, I don't think a US distributor has been announced (though there's a convention soon, so we might find out then), so Manga are already at an advantage. Then there's the fact it has huge crossover appeal. I'm seemingly the only person in my anime society that didn't watch it growing up, so it's not just anime fans they're selling to. I doubt they'll lose money on it.

    That said, my former local HMV in Swindon, just gutted all of it's anime merchandise. Not that they ever had anything but Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon. Now they just have Marvel, DC and Star Wars stuff. So Toei might learn the merchandise thing the hard way.
  6. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    I agree that Digimon will probably do fine. It's other Toei titles this silliness upsets me about more. I am going to keep banging on about this forever until someone can adequately explain to me why this situation exists:

    Television: ok
    Illegal streaming where third parties make money: ok
    Circumventing their own region locks on legal streaming where third parties make money: ok
    Legal streaming where they could monetise a small number of fans: DESTROYS THE ANIME INDUSTRY

    Knowing how to circumvent region locks requires no great feat of technical knowledge; even my mum and Jerome can do it. I know that Jerome has said and insinuated that legal streaming and specifically only legal streaming harms sales, and you've built up a case based on the facts we have been told. But he isn't basing it on any solid market research, just his personal views as someone who remembers the pre-streaming world. Other countries don't work like this; the UK isn't special. I maintain that all they're doing is stifling growth in one sector of their potential market for no valid reason.

  7. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Mad Scientist

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    I'd note that Toei will allow streaming for titles that stand no chance of TV. World Trigger was simulcast after three weeks into it's run (premium members only, but still), Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold was simulcast on both Crunchyroll and Daisuki. And they have allowed streaming deals for big shows in the past, TF1 has streaming rights for One Piece in France, but it has a TV simulcast on Mangas I belive. We've seen how much Crunchyroll offer, for potentially as low as $150 an episode, it's probably not worth the risk. Especially with a show like Digimon, given the attitudes of many people now, legal streaming would probably lose more buyers than it gains. It might gain more, but there's a very strong possibility it won't. People on this forum seem to wilfully and deliberately underestimate that possibility to support their argument, but Manga (Manga is not just Jerome no matter how much people may act like it is) can't necessarily risk it. They have to justify the risk to their investors, and their investors don't care about the flimmy flammy idealistic reasons people on this site employ.

    There is no magical bullet to kill piracy. If Toei wants to C&D the illegal site KA [Not it's full name, but you know the one], a) Toei Europe probably can't do it, b) even if they could, they probably need to get the permission of everyone involved in that production to do it. So for World Trigger for example, they would likely need to contact Toei Animation Japan, Shueisha and Daisuke Ashihara at the bare minimum (as all three co-own copyright), but potentially also people at Toei Company and TV Ashai. For something like Dragon Ball Super, they have an advertising network involved too (Yomiko Advertising), and for production committee shows, they'd probably have to find and reassemble the entire production committee. To do that for every show on their roster and every illegal site would likely be impossible. And that's assuming KA even listens to C&Ds*, it's quite plausible they've relocated their servers to somewhere they can get away with piracy. And even if you do C&D them, it's quite plausible they'll just relocate their servers to somewhere where they can get away with it.

    *I believe their hoster got C&D'd a while back and they were forced to kill everything, but just they moved and reuploaded everything(?).

    Also, when you fake or spoof your IP, you are in breach of Crunchyroll's TOS. Crunchyroll will probably, at some point, be asked to start enforcing this. If you're comfortable breaching CR's TOS then go ahead, but you can't blame them if they start enforcing it.
  8. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Re: The News Thread (for news that does not need a thread)

    I would argue that in the case of, say, One Piece, where there effectively zero extra costs involved (all of the material is digitised and translated already on the Crunchyroll/Funimation servers and there are no BBFC costs), taking $150 per episode for such a huge amount of content would make for a rather pleasing windfall. I have no idea how much the DVDs are raking in but even if it was a timed exclusive it's a decent shot of cash. I know that this is never going to happen when the people whispering in Toei's ear already have access via region spoofing and don't believe in their titles enough to think anyone who has seen content once will go on to buy it (despite its huge success in Japan, France and the USA contradicting this view) but it really is a decent amount of cash. Even if they only did it for the first batch of episodes as a trial, which isn't really what I want, it would help promote the earlier DVDs after their sales start to decline while giving people who want to get their friends hooked without having them pay out for DVDs some legal way to do so.

    Agreed. There is, however, a very engaging argument for piracy (which I strongly disagree with and will argue against to my dying breath) that deliberately making a subset of the English-speaking market unable to access content legally drives those without the resources or moral fortitude towards illegal means. And once they're conditioned to live in that rut, they don't ever tend to come out of it, creating a whole culture of disrespect in the places the most passionate fans would traditionally be lurking like your local anime society. I spent years rehabilitating a piracy-loving friend and have a zero tolerance policy which all of my friends respect, but most people don't bother; they watch anime because they can get it free and wouldn't if they couldn't, and that's how they teach the next generations to behave. People who actually pay for stuff are treated like a minority of freaks, both by other fans and by the industry itself.

    Toei is directly challenging this side of things with the whole 'One Piece Official' movement in the US which makes it almost as easy to watch legally as it is to pirate, and it outright annoys me when industry reps resist doing something similar here because being hundreds of episodes behind the US and Japan is never going to encourage the average person to buy Manga's UK One Piece DVDs and start collecting physical releases of what will probably be a 1,000+ episode series with lower sales forecast for every single consecutive volume. If any of those are selling at all it's on the back of promotion via piracy and the hard work of the US-Japan partnership getting the English version of Shounen Jump in front of readers (which is absolute brilliance and one of the best things to happen to the industry in my living memory).

    The knowledge of this makes me all the more annoyed at the irresponsibility of it being encouraged by UK industry figures. Personally, I won't do it (and only partially because of the TOS thing; it's also less convenient across alternate devices and it's flat out dumb that we 'have' to). I have breached Japanese simulcast service TOS before though on similar grounds, however, just for the privilege of paying them money to watch unsubtitled anime unavailable legally in my country. I'm an absolute freak for going above and beyond to pay to do things as above board as possible and most people will just learn to pirate instead because it's easier. Once they have done that and tasted how much entertainment they get for free, how do you put the genie back in the bottle? Why make it so hard to support legal anime distribution and keep repeating the same mistakes?

  9. ConanThe3rd

    ConanThe3rd Railgun

    Re: Toei's refusal to legally stream their biggest anime tit

    That TV mandate is a lot of crap on toast. Last time One Piece aired in the UK was in 09 and eveyone agreeded that was a scheduling **** up.

    So that leaves, what 05, 06? Cripes, then that means DB, SM and Digimon should be good to go.

    Seriously though, terns of service require service to happen and that's sure as balls not the case here. Untill someone releases Sailor Moon here (and not as Kaze Koasters) as far as I'm concerned it's as morality unambiguous as downloading post Macross from M7 onwards.
  10. Baggie_Saiyan

    Baggie_Saiyan Adventurer

    Dragon Ball Super is a mess too. Toei want a TV deal, but then said they're looking into it for the UK when asked but then say they don't know of an English dub yet. What a company.

    I don't understand what their fascination with TV Deals that's why it's taking forever in U.S. In this day and age it's all about streaming, they should know this themselves ratings in Japan seemed to have slowly dropped since now at 2010. (Back in 2010 Kai was pulling ratings of 10% now Super is pulling it around 6%)

    Toei are stuck in the 90's man.
  11. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    They're clearly thinking in a pretty old fashioned way (albeit, with good, but misguided intentions) - the way I see it, their ideal plan is like this:

    Show airs on TV - gets brand-recognition and general 'mass market' awareness (like Sailor Moon has in the US, and how DBZ does pretty much worldwide)

    Disc release is then allowed, and sales are naturally higher, due to the kind of mass market appeal most anime titles (even something big like AOT) can rarely ever reach.

    Of course, times have changed, as well as the fact UK TV is a totally different beast from US TV. Sailor Moon was never as big here anyway, and the best Dragon Ball Super could probably ever hope for is getting shown on Kix or CITV, two or three years after it originally airs in Japan.

    But of course, in an old fashioned way of looking, look at the fact DBZ is probably the only anime you'll ever see stocked in an ASDA or Sainsbury's, or getting over 10,000 disc sales these days, and in that line of thinking, it follows 'Well, it's gotta be a TV run first to prime the market or sales will be rubbish...'

  12. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Even the actual TV channels aimed at kids are pushing digital for their brands in the US/UK. They know that the market is shifting, and they offer VOD and streams to supplement their television offerings (which is great for me since I don't have television). It's silly to leave that money on the table.

  13. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    Yup - Netflix have the right idea, stuff like getting Glitter Force on their service (and Amazon doing likewise with their pilot series on Prime) is the future. Most kids just spend hours watching Minecraft videos or vlogger tutorials on YouTube - it's where the future is.
  14. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Mad Scientist

    As much as I think Toei is a crappy company, I think they're more nuanced than we're giving them credit for. They seem protective of their "big hitters", whereas if they know they aren't likely to get a TV deal they are seemingly more open to streaming. Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold streamed on both Crunchyroll and Daisuki (although Daisuki was time-limited), Kyousougiga and Digimon: Xros War are streaming on Crunchyroll for everyone and World Trigger is streaming for premium members. [I suspect Toei Europe thought they might be able to swing a TV deal for World Trigger if it got dubbed.]

    The problem is perhaps that Toei has too many shows that would be considered big hitters, so it seems like they're protective of everything. I think they'd be better off streaming everything, but we should perhaps not try and paint them as some evil monolithic entity that hates us all. We might not like them, but they are clearly not an anime version of Evil Corp. from Mr. Robot...

    I'm not sure Toei are opposed to offering SVOD once they have a TV sale. As keeps being pointed out, Digimon was on Amazon Prime until a few days after Manga announced they had it. They have also sold One Piece to TF1 in France for an SVOD service they own. (It also has a TV simulcast in France.) It sounds like the problem is they want TV first for their big hitters, and they partnered with a UK distributor that doesn't like streaming.
  15. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    Imagine if it emerged that Manga had streaming rights to One Piece and weren't putting it on CR for the same reason as what happened with Sakamoto.

    Not saying that's the case, but just imagine.
  16. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Mad Scientist

    Erm, we can definitely say that isn't the case. Jerome seemed concerned by the possibility of Funimation Now getting them. If Manga had the rights it simply wouldn't be possible, so no need for concern.

    He seemingly suggested he rang up Toei to ensure it wouldn't be happening though.
  17. HellCat

    HellCat Straw Hat Pirate

    Toei in general strike me as old fashioned. They have partial ownership of many big franchises but they scream "dragged into 21st century".
  18. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    I guess it just frustrates me as they're just *such* glaring omissions. Here and now, in the 21st century, when we have more manga and anime available legally to us than ever before, to not have some of the most recognisable franchises in the medium available (One Piece + Sailor Moon chiefly).

    Heck - for years I said the same thing about Gundam, and we're *finally* getting it now. I think aside from Toei properties, the original Eva series is the only other one still in my sights.
  19. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Mad Scientist

    Yeah, but to be fair, Sunrise aren't streaming Gundam either. If you want to see the original series, you can't. The three compilation films were made available from July 21st 2016 until September 21st 2016, which is nice, but I'm not sure I'd quite call it "embracing streaming".
  20. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    While I don't think they have the rights based on the Twitter exchange, the fact that I know that Jerome wanted to stand in the way of us ever having a One Piece streaming option is a major contributor to me buying it from the US rather than the UK. I'm not touching the UK release just to inflate the sales figures of a company which actively blocks me from seeing the latest episodes legitimately and expects me to tolerate a release many years behind the current arc. In the US they have a simulcast and the home video release, and since the UK DVD sets are wholly dependent on the US anyway I'd rather support that and the better setup they have over there.

    As I've observed before, Toei Europe has poured tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, into pushing the One Piece brand at toy and licensing expos in the UK for years, not to mention events like Hyper Japan (those gigantic inflatable Choppers and stands don't come cheap). It seems insane that there's no overarching strategy to tie it all together; I remember when the composer came over to do a concert here with Manga's involvement and we were all shown scenes and music from years into the future of the anime DVD releases here. At least the video games and (genuinely decent) manga distribution might bring some people in through legal channels.