This will be a series of posts trying to cover the news only recently of Pony Canyon just about to jump into the North American distribution market. This is Part 1. Now Live: My Dislike of Aniplex of America’s Pricing Model| Part 2.
You know I think this is a good thing but I also think there is a potential for a total fail. Since I am no business expert of the distribution or even streaming channels instead I will address the news with the mind of a consumer of anime. It seems like a very good idea because from what have come to know in Japan releases of anime either in DVD or Blu-ray often times come out very quickly almost as soon as they finish airing. In any place, other than Japan that never happens. So if Pony Canyon plans to release anime in North America then it would be a good idea for them to do release dates much in the way that happens in Japan.
From details of plans so far, it seems Pony Canyon also plans to do high quality releases much like in the native country of anime. I think that is another good point in their favor already. A lot of times many anime releases are pretty well manufactured in North America but when you compare them to their Japan counterparts you start to see which is better-looking.
Finally Pony Canyon also plans to stream their anime. Notably even worldwide which a very good idea because there are fans everywhere especially from what blog stat hits this blog gets. Sometimes from obscure countries hardly would have guessed anyone would be into anime.
Now what one must really worry over is if Pony Canyon plans to go with Aniplex’s business model for home video releases. Pony Canyon wants to go with high quality releases from what sources say but will that mean higher prices as a result? I mean do we really want another Aniplex?
If so that is where we have a real problem. It is widely known that in Japan releases happen in volumes. Meaning 2-3 episodes usually get releases on DVD or Blu-ray for around $70.00-$80.00. Some attest to more. What Pony Canyon must do is really observe the North American market to get a feel for how the North American anime consumer thinks. How they spend.
Personally I have never bought into the Aniplex business model ever. They are an anime company first and foremost. Understandable. I have luckily only a few anime that have ever like by them: Blue Exorcist, Oreimo, and Valvrave the Liberator. I am aware of their other popular titles they have but have always restrained from buying from them so stick with either FUNimation or Sentai Filmworks. I mean I could buy Oreimo but then for the money that goes for merely one Season of anime could go to several anime that also love. Their prices are ridiculous! But really that is not the whole point. What I am trying to express is that while there are anime fans that will buy releases by Aniplex of America there will be others who just wont. The problem is that this causes alienation by potential consumers. There will either be a loss of anime fans wanting to spend or those who still spend of physical media but might turn to other North America anime companies. The more prominent, widely known for being accessible: FUNimation, Sentai Filmworks, and VIZ Media.
While there are people who would buy at near to Aniplex or NISA prices the vast majority just wont. At this point that is my main concern in terms of which pricing model will be adapted by Pony Canyon. I would rather they release as close to a VIZ Media or FUNimation business model than an Aniplex or NISA one. Particularly with VIZ Media doing a beautiful job with the Limited Edition releases of anime that includes K, Blood Lad, and soon Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet.
Something else that also kind of brought up before was that in Japan releases occur in volumes, well, that is something highly think would not work in North America. Particularly since here in the States, everyone is fond of getting things in bulk. Anime is no exception. They’ll need to see how the market works in North America. I’m not sure about every anime fan but usually a complete series release wins everyone over rather than per volume.
Knowing that Pony Canyon might distribute anime in North America is quite the exciting news! Yet, I worry over the implications. This might mean that Pony Canyon might have to choose over being infamous in not such a good way but still make a profit like Aniplex or be very loved but perhaps at best cut-even like FUNimation Entertainment.
I really feel that those involved with Pony Canyon will have to really observe the North America market. As much as that I wonder what other anime fans are thinking right about now over this.
News Information Sources
Anime Nation News: Pony Canyon to Begin American Distribution
The Fandom Post: Pony Canyon Launches North American Distribution Unit