The animation world is really struggling as of late. A recent sign of times, AD Vision who brought you famous titles like: Appleseed, Elfen Lied, and etc. have recently announced their closing the doors. That's right, due to unfortunate sells in multiple titles they have been forced to close down their doors for good, including other problems, which has lead other companies to pick up multiple titles like mentioned above.
In addition, the economy has shown no grace towards anime specialist as companies like Geneon and Central Park media has closed down their doors for good filing for bankruptcy. What is the main culprit of this distress? It can be attributed towards different aspects like, economic times, DVD sales, and finally failures in marketing approaches. The biggest problem this industry is facing happens to deal directly with copyright infringement. What exactly does this mean? There are multiple sites out there, who are distributing free animation to users over the World Wide Web; however, these sites are failing to pay any royalties to any of the artist. What exactly does this mean? It does not take someone with a PhD in economics to figure out that when there is no demand for a product, there is no need for supply. In this case, their is no need for supply but lots of demand. In truth, the same very loyal fans who love their industry are in fact killing it.
Even the big corporations who are the main supplies of dubbed animation in the United States, like Funimation, are feeling the effects. It's only a matter of time, at this rate, before animation is entirely gone from the United States. Japanese companies are quickly adapting to times by attempting to sign onto established web agencies. Crunchy roll, one of the only legal streaming online companies who offer animation are, in fact, paying royalties to the artist.
American animation companies need to quickly find new ways to market their product. Times have changed; the old method of selling DVD's has quickly become outdated. Some recommendations I would wish this industry would incorporate:
1) Official Streaming Sites from each company, followed with a monthly subscription fee.
2) As the saying goes, "there's gold in them hills." United States is already eating up the marvel comic book industry; yet, the animation industry has much more in depth and better potential story-lines, which can easily be adapted to the big screen. Is not it about time to give titles like Harry Potter, Watchmen, GI Joe, even Lord of the Rings a run for their money?
3) Sales should come from merchandise, not from direct dvd sales. Companies should sign onto such toy industries and take examples of giants in the field: beanie babies, ninja turtles, the list can go on forever.
4) Video Games is a field there are slowly merging with, however, this merger is always in favor of the video game industry. The potential such animation titles can have you ask? Just look at the long video game series, Dragon Ball Z, which was rated by most critics as a horrible fighting game. What carried it? It's not hard to figure out.
Animation companies need to find different ways to make money off of their product. The main focus should be on offering free broadcast of their titles; the main focus being on simply marketing their product. The best way to accomplish this is by offering a free animation cable channel. Inevitably, the chances of this happening are slim to none. Nevertheless, such fluctuations seen in past spending trends can be matched towards past mass free distributions. Toonami, a popular animation series that ran on Cartoon Network had a very successful launch on the rating scale for simply a few animation titles. Consequently, at the time, no illegal animation streaming sites were available through the World Wide Web, which can be directly attributed towards their success. However, the old 'anime spending rush' can be directly linked towards this event, otherwise known as the anime baby boom. In short, animation companies need to stop relying on dvd sales, in fact, this should be considered as their least form of income generation. They need to look at other markets, and learn how to incorporate this into money for them.
In truth, the question really is will the animation industry learn to adapt. The Japanese show signs of life, but the Americans are slowly withering away. There are still some promises out there for possible sparks of life. However, this is quickly sniffed out by some quick announcement of a failed trend. Will this industry ever recover? Only time will tell.