The CEO of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Eric P. Sherman, posted his view on why anime is going to die out. Eric attributes his reasoning of this due to the popularity of fan-subbing, where groups of people take recordings from Japanese television and translate them with English (or another language) subtitles. These videos are easily available through torrents or are sometimes chopped up and posted on streaming video sites like YouTube.
Eric has pointed the finger at fan-subs for the demise Geneon Entertainment USA and ADV Films which have gone under due to a lack of sales. If fans of the series continue to download and watch ill gotten episodes, more companies will follow suit and cease operations.
North American companies that perform the localization (which includes dubbing) and distribution of licensed series, companies such as Viz Media, FUNimation and Bang Zoom! Entertainment, have become very outspoken over fan-subbing. This is due to the idea that once someone downloads and watches the show on their computer, they most likely will not go out and purchase the DVD or Blu-ray. There are a few reasons behind this:
- Ease of availability. Anyone with Internet access can install a torrent client and download whole episodes from others with a few clicks. And because high speed Internet access is widely available now, it only takes minutes to have whole seasons, let alone a few episodes saved to ones hard drive. Although, Viz Media and FUNimation as examples, stream video of popular series from their web sites for free, there are limitations due to licensing restrictions for those who live outside of the United States.
- Price. Considering that much of the world is still easing out of a recession, money is tight for many people. Paying $70 for a box set, much less $30 for a single disc with four or five episodes, is a luxury many people cannot afford.
- Localization. This one varies among fans — some of them like the fact that they don’t have to read subtitles while watching a show and listen to a talented English voice actor, while others prefer subtitles because they like the depth and style Japanese voice actors offer. In other cases, some companies, such as 4Kids Entertainment, rework huge portions of animated series to change their targeted audience in order to increase profits. Themes that depict death, violence, and mature situations are toned down so as not to scare or offend younger audiences. Such censoring draws ire from more fervent fans who want to see the series as originally designed.
It seems that there are two sides to the story with a delicate industry caught in the middle. However, both sides — the fans and the companies, need to reach a plateau where they get their money’s worth for and from the end product, be it DVD or manga. It’s unfair though for one side to harbour all of the blame when the reasons behind it should be looked at. But in the mean time, go out and buy a DVD or Blu-ray and maybe send some (polite!) feedback to the company that holds the North American license to show how you feel about the pricing and content of your favourite series.
Source: Anime News Network