Steins;Gate Sold 105,977 Copies in the US (Over 82 Weeks)

Surprise! Apparently a 5-year-old anime can still pull in some numbers when it tries. US BD sales numbers just came out for late April 2016 and contained the surprising revelation that the complete version of Steins;Gate, released on September 30th, 2014 had sold over 100,000 copies in the US over the past 82 weeks.

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Some people may have questions about this, so I’ll try to outline the situation and why it’s somewhat interesting.

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Fun With Numbers: Long-Tail Figures and Uncharted Territory

Recently, via the creation of a second OpusData trial account, I was able to acquire some new data that sheds light on how several newer US anime release performed in the long term. This includes 5 releases (Attack on Titan: Part 2, One Piece Film Z, The Wind Rises, Evangelion: Ha, The Tale of Princess Kaguya) for which we have at least one week of sales data already, plus 4 releases (Momo, Hal, Bayonetta, The Cat Returns) that came out in the 12 months and failed to chart once. Excluding Evangelion: Ha, and The Cat Returns, all of these titles came out between September and November 2014, so they’re roughly comparable in terms of the amount of time since release they’ve had to accrue new sales.

[Note: OpusData and TheNumbers, where I usually get what hard US video sales data I post, are owned and operated by the same company, Nash Info Services.]

The info that can be gleaned from them is interesting, but let me just say right now that I’m really happy about the clerical error that logged Attack on Titan’s second set as a movie, and hence trackable long-term in the Opus database.

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Via Anime Insider: US Industry Collaboration (February 2005)

This article describes an attempt of which I was not aware of by Funimation, ADV, and Geneon to cooperate and drive the price of licenses down. It likely worked (more on that in just a moment), despite the fact that one of the three closed down and another declared bankruptcy.

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Via Anime Insider: Competitive Bidding for Fullmetal Alchemist (August 2004)

A piece about Fullmetal Alchemist’s licencing for US release. The interesting quote here is one on the second page by Funimation president Gen Fukunaga; “Fullmetal Alchemist was a very hotly contested property. All of the top anime companies in the United States were bidding on it […]”

That poses a very interesting what if; what if one of those other companies had gotten FMA? If ADV gets it, do they then fortify their brand around that property and not wildly overbid for that series in the very near future? It’s possible, though not likely, that their overspending on B-listers was driven by the increasing need to get a real hit out of one of them, something exacerbated by Funimation’s cornering more of the A-list market. What if, say, Geneon or Bandai Visual, with their less-substantial connections to cable TV, got it and whiffed on the rollout? It’s food for aimless speculation, although I would love to see a timeline of who made what bids when.

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Fun With Numbers: Licenses Matter (If You Know Where to Look)

The Summer 2013 has presented rich discussion fodder, giving rise to a number of interesting talking points. My favorite one is still the one on the merits of the core comedy in high-school life series that Free has sparked. This article is about one of those questions, one which is more complicated than some might think; Why did The World God Only Knows get a sequel? Based sheerly on anime sales, it’s a very risky proposition; season 1 literally just hit the profit line with an average 3000 sales per volume, and season 2 was well below that, averaging only 2117 per volume. If it made any contribution to manga sales, it was one of questionable value. Aside from one special-edition release that came with a bundled OAD, the manga sales don’t show a big jump after the anime airs. It’s a late-night anime, too (aired at 3:20 in the morning), so it’s not getting any help from TV ratings/ad revenue. So why are we looking at the third season of an anime whose second was already on shaky ground?

The answer is that that ground is not, in fact, quite so shaky. Once one considers the additional impact of licensing dollars, some sequels that look like iffy business make a lot more sense.

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