A decidely different tack (aka lol John Ledford interview)

June 1, 2007 at 11:30 am 2 comments


Well, since I gotta do something remotely related to Japanese animation or I lose all credibility with the community, so I’ve decided to give my thoughts on the very interesting and refreshing interview between John Ledford, CEO of ADV, and Anime News Network.

Just a couple of things I would like to clear before I continue: I respect ADV, not just because of what they have done, but also of how much they respect their consumer base and not mindlessly screw with them. It really makes you wonder why companies like ODEX exist as well. Also since I have no chance in heck to meet the CEO of ODEX, I have to rely on hearsay and media reports (and the quality of their products). Suffice to say, the prognosis does not look good.

Interesting article and interview. I’ve never seen someone so candid and honest in an interview. He talks on length about contacts (always important to have), marketability (important if there’s competition), and his view on fansubs. This line, I like a lot:

Personally, not professionally, I like fansubs because they come from the fan community. Professionally, if a fansub is not done with a lot of tender loving care, and it’s messy, it can damage the product.

He’s also covered why we’re not allowed to see any numbers (it hurts relationships, yo).

And for those of you who keep complaining about why this series isn’t licensed, here are some quotes to shut you up :

If you make a lot of money in 2 or 3 years, but burn the next hundred, what’s the point? You could destroy the entire industry by thinking short term. I mean the Japanese definitely have a very intelligent view of how to handle the situation.

It’s an unsustainable business. The market will not sustain it. Five years ago, three years ago you could buy anything and almost anything would sell, not everything but almost. Now you have to be a sniper. You have to snipe the good titles, that’s all that will sell. Everything else, the stores don’t want it, the fans will download it. Where does it have a home? Maybe on mobile, maybe on internet but certainly not on video; the home video market will not take it. There’s simply not enough shelf space and the product doesn’t turn fast enough.

The big thing the fans need to know is that the business is different than the market. The animé fandom is still growing. And demand is still growing. The problem the market faces is that some of the established channels for reaching those people have disappeared.

I’m gonna end off my impressions with this. The business of licensing and promoting Japanese animation is never easy. It’s hard, tiring work, and most of the time, the good folks who do this are insulted and sneered at by the very customers they want to attract. It’s interesting to note how he likes fansubs, something most companies should learn from. While he does not really endorse the medium, he takes a rather level-headed view on it. It’s also interesting to note that ADV has adapted itself for the Internet Age. Not a lot of progress in that area, but at least it shows that there are companies willing to start. Also, his positive attitude is something all companies should strive to attain.

Well, I’ll end off with this:

  • Thank you, ADV and ANN for making the world a slightly better place.
  • Buying the DVDs are really important to the companies involved. Yes this is a plea to ask people to buy whenever they can.
  • Running this business is a tough job.
  • Anyone who thinks fansubs/downloaded animé are better are also making flawed arguments. And oh how flawed the arguments are.

Entry filed under: editorial.

M…M…M…MOETAN TV??? GJ, ODEX, now reap the whirlwind.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  June 2, 2007 at 12:37 am

    “ANN” and “making the world a better place” can’t go in the same sentence, drm. Just an FYI.

    Reply
  • 2. Undisputed Seraphim  |  June 2, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I wish there’s a store in singapore that has lots and lots of american/japanese DVD imports… or is there already one? I’d buy those.

    Reply

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