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Pony Canyon USA: Opinions?
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36 / M
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Posted 9/26/14
The news that Pony Canyon is directly entering the North American home video market is interesting news, and the commenters at ANN seem to be dreaded it as they think it will be like Aniplex of America only without the hits.

I think what wasn't being conveyed in this thread is that Pony Canyon USA could make niche series make it over here for a market-oriented price that overwise wouldn't come over. This could certainly give Walkure Romanze for example a release that would appeal to the niche that would buy that. These two shows(which have very good streaming availability) that were announced for Crunchyroll yesterday could also potentially get a better release than if one of the usual suspects got them and did a bare-bones release.

I also think that Pony Canyon won't be copying Aniplex in everything they'd do. But even if they do, you have more shows that would likely see more JP extras on them. As someone who has bought some Aniplex releases, I can say that I do like how they handle some shows [although I would love to see Blast of Tempest get a dub]. SAO's release on Blu-Ray was top-notch and the extras were quite good.
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46 / M
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Posted 9/26/14
Well, as long as they actually price their releases for the US market, they will probably be fine. The problem I've seen with some companies is that they price themselves out of the market. Space Battleship Yamato/Starblazers 2199 is a perfect example of this. They release 4 episodes per box at $35 for DVD and $45 for Blu-Ray. In the US market people are used to pay that much for complete series (or, at most, half the series). This resulted in it being a big flop here.
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47 / M / Tampa, FL
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Posted 9/26/14
Yeah, pricing will be the deciding factor for me -- I can buy an entire season of something like Game of Thrones or Stargate for the price of 1-4 episodes of most anime series. And as much as I love anime, there is hardly any in my DVD collection because of that ridiculous pricing =(
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22 / M / Louisiana
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Posted 9/26/14
Personally I'm excited. I'm sure they realize that everyone would hate them if they priced their international releases like Aniplex does. Based on their region availability from the get-go, I'd say they're much more interested in actually conforming to the international market, rather than making the rest of the world conform to Japan's business model.
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Posted 9/27/14
If it means getting series released somewhat quicker here as sets I'm in. Ultimately it'll just depend on how they'll market and release the releases in the end. If it pushes up some series releases here instead of a normal 14, my ballpark figure so +/- a month or so, months after the Japanese release go for it. On the flipside if it goes bad and they then exit the market current companies who usually license their titles might be able to push for better deals on them. Something along the lines of look you tried it here and didn't work out while you pulled/held licenses from our business for X amount of time while we were doing fine handling your titles previously. Hope that made sense.



The Wise Wizard
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56 / M / U.S.A. (mid-south)
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Posted 9/27/14
I suspect they may at least try the premium pricing model. After all, the market will readily accept lowered prices later, but is quite resistive to raising them later.
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22 / M / Baltimore, Maryland
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Posted 9/27/14
Won't pay much attention to them, for now seeing as their first two shows I don't have much of an interest in. Though later on I may look into them.

Release-wise; I can't help but expect the volume method being employed by the fact that they keep saying that they want to release the same as "Japan's High Quality Releases""
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Posted 9/27/14 , edited 9/27/14
I'm in wait and see mode I'll might pick up there stuff if they have a shows that interests me and the price isn't too outrageous.

I think the only reason Aniplex is still going cause they have alot of the hot shows that people want to see..
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29 / M / Illinois
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Posted 9/27/14

curr0001 wrote:

I think the only reason Aniplex is still going cause they have alot of the hot shows that people want to see..


Let's not forget that Aniplex is owned by Sony. $$$$$$ backing. They also release dvd sets for 1/3 of the price of the BD sets.

Going onto the subject of pony Canyon ... I really can't say I care right now. Too little information.
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Posted 9/27/14
Reserving judgement until I actually see what they start to put out.

At the very least, it's probably not awesome news for Funi/Sentai, etc. Means one less batch of shows that'll get licensed out to US company for home video release.

And Ponycan has stuff like AoT, Free!, and K-On. That's some pretty heavy firepower. I haven't been able to find a good list of everything the production company owns, but those are probably a good indication that they are least have their fair share of popular titles.
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46 / M
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Posted 9/27/14

iblessall wrote:
And Ponycan has stuff like AoT, Free!, and K-On. That's some pretty heavy firepower. I haven't been able to find a good list of everything the production company owns, but those are probably a good indication that they are least have their fair share of popular titles.


That also depends on their contracts with these companies. But, depending on how Pony does, it does not look good for the renewal of the contracts.
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28 / M / NY
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Posted 9/27/14
It is important to keep in mind Aniplex of America bids for licenses just like the other NA anime distributors, such as FUNi and Sentai. They don't get them for free because they have Aniplex in the name. What's different is AoA has the right of first offer, meaning AoA gets to bid first. In this way, AoA picks and chooses which Aniplex owned shows they want to distribute by bidding accordingly. Similar to a sports team offering a player on the team who will soon become a free agent a contract to stay before they hit the open market.

If AoA thinks the title will flop, i.e. the title is not worth the minimum bid as far as projected return on investment, then they will put in a low ball bid or refuse to bid entirely. Then the other companies get a crack at bidding on its license. I imagine AoA pays a bit more for the shows it licenses than FUNi or Sentai typically would given Aniplex in Japan would turn down their first bid otherwise, and shop the title to the competition. There's also the fact their relationship is close being they have direct communications between them. Having a foot in the door always helps.

In the same way, I expect Pony Canyon USA will also have right of first offer and will pick and choose which available Pony Canon owned titles to license and distribute. The interesting thing will be to see what strategy they take with the NA market. Also, who will be heading up the operations will play a role in their overall plans. Until I know more, I can't say one way or the other if this is a good thing or not yet.
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29 / M / Illinois
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Posted 9/27/14

sonic720 wrote:

It is important to keep in mind Aniplex of America bids for licenses just like the other NA anime distributors, such as FUNi and Sentai. They don't get them for free because they have Aniplex in the name. What's different is AoA has the right of first offer, meaning AoA gets to bid first. In this way, AoA picks and chooses which Aniplex owned shows they want to distribute by bidding accordingly. Similar to a sports team offering a player on the team who will soon become a free agent a contract to stay before they hit the open market.



Aniplex is paying itself? I'm pretty sure it's all owned by Sony. Just different branches on different continents. Do you have any links? I want to read up on this if it's in fact true.
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38 / M / Reno, NV
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Posted 9/27/14

vangosroth wrote:


sonic720 wrote:

It is important to keep in mind Aniplex of America bids for licenses just like the other NA anime distributors, such as FUNi and Sentai. They don't get them for free because they have Aniplex in the name. What's different is AoA has the right of first offer, meaning AoA gets to bid first. In this way, AoA picks and chooses which Aniplex owned shows they want to distribute by bidding accordingly. Similar to a sports team offering a player on the team who will soon become a free agent a contract to stay before they hit the open market.



Aniplex is paying itself? I'm pretty sure it's all owned by Sony. Just different branches on different continents. Do you have any links? I want to read up on this if it's in fact true.


They're separate divisions, even if they're both owned by Sony. For accounting purposes, they each have their own internal financials, and, yes, they actually do have to pay each other licensing fees, royalties and the like. That's how large, publicly-traded corporations work, with (extremely) rare exceptions. In the same way, A-1 Pictures doesn't automatically get the deal to animate a show that Aniplex is producing. Obviously they get special favor regarding these sorts of things, and, in some respects, the monetary exchange may mostly be "on paper", but it does exist. If its financially beneficial to do so, they would license it to other companies. Think about it: if you were Kaz Hirai, wouldn't it be useful to know that (for instance) the Japanese division made $5 million, A-1 made $500,000, and Aniplex USA lost $1 million, rather than just seeing a profit of $4.5 million? Granted, the money made/lost by Aniplex USA is probably so insignificant that I highly doubt the CEO of Sony cares, but still, you can probably see why you would separate them within your business.

Sorry for the accounting rant; this is just a common misconception that people have about large corporations.
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Posted 9/27/14 , edited 9/27/14

sonic720 wrote:

It is important to keep in mind Aniplex of America bids for licenses just like the other NA anime distributors, such as FUNi and Sentai. They don't get them for free because they have Aniplex in the name. What's different is AoA has the right of first offer, meaning AoA gets to bid first. In this way, AoA picks and chooses which Aniplex owned shows they want to distribute by bidding accordingly. Similar to a sports team offering a player on the team who will soon become a free agent a contract to stay before they hit the open market.

If AoA thinks the title will flop, i.e. the title is not worth the minimum bid as far as projected return on investment, then they will put in a low ball bid or refuse to bid entirely. Then the other companies get a crack at bidding on its license. I imagine AoA pays a bit more for the shows it licenses than FUNi or Sentai typically would given Aniplex in Japan would turn down their first bid otherwise, and shop the title to the competition. There's also the fact their relationship is close being they have direct communications between them. Having a foot in the door always helps.

Is there a source that confirms this? I've been under the impression that AoA acts not only as a distributor, but also as a licensor - as in they handle the rights for all Aniplex titles in the English speaking countries. After that I imagine the process to be similar to what you described, where AoA can still license it out to other US companies if the offer is above their expected returns (although the only recent case of this happening is Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus).
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