With the last article, I decided to write a response to the author of “The Golden Waste” as he seems to be ranting about people not buying licensed anime for some reasons. Everyone should be buying licensed anime if they like the show and/or want to support the studio, there is no way around with that. However, the money that comes from both the Japanese and licensed Anime sales of DVDs is very small for the Animation Studios. We can argue or rant about dub versus sub-only releases, Crunchyroll and licensing companies as much we want, but it doesn’t change the fact that how much corporate greed comes from the Japanese Anime Industry causing the animation studios be left with peanuts in comparison with the American Music Industry.
Producing Anime is very expensive to produce, market, localize and distribute. According to the info in 2007 from the Nikkei BP Anime Business Forum in Japan, it costs $20,000-30,000 dollars on average just to produce one episode. Sure, it’s expensive to produce a longer series like 24 episodes opposed to 12 episodes since it would cost around $480,000 – $720,000 from these estimates. Sounds expensive, right? The studios couldn’t afford to animate this alone, so they have sponsors to help them produce the show.
If you take a look at this chart below, an animator makes less than an Office worker (money is in millions of Yen):
In another source, this is the actual salary directors were getting per episode:
Television series sound director: 150,000-180,000 yen (US$1,600-US$2,000)
Television series director: 200,000-250,000 yen (US$2,200-US$2,700)
Animation director: About 300,000 yen (US$3,300)
From AnimeNewsNetwork article, Directors Dispute Reports of ‘Poor’ Animator Salaries
On the chart above, animators are paid way under what a normal worker will receive in Japan (1.1 million yen (US$11,600) for an Animator 20 years old and 2.14 million yen (US$22,600) for 30 year old animator, with a average salary of 1 million yen (US$10,500).) or even minimum wage in the United States for example. However, it’s contradictory since although the animators make a decent salary ($26,400-$36,000 for 12 episodes for example). The surprisingly higher salaries that reported in 2009 indicate that studios are actually getting extra funds by distributing using other means such as the internet, which will be discussed later in this article. However, it is of not the studio’s fault because the real greed comes from the middleman, usually the TV studio.
If we look at this chart , we can see that the studio takes a big cut from the budget ($500k that was put out from the sponsor and other expenses), leaving only 80k for the actual production budget . This leaves hardly anything for the workers. We can see that the TV Studio is guilty for this greed like the Music Labels are with their music that artists puts out and that the people who make the music are in the same situation as these workers, receiving hardly any money from these works. Unless the Anime Industry change from their old ways, the content creators will continue to get shafted while the Anime Industry (Mostly the TV studios) like Scrooge McDuck will take the big sum of the money and swimming in his vaults of money while gouging the Animation Studios and the workers, which gets hardly anything.
Well, of you compare it to doujin work; depending on how successful, they can make more money compared to the typical approach since it cuts the middleman (TV studio) out of the production process. You may not get as much of recognition, but word of mouth and the quality of the work may help it to become successful, and more are turning to that. Another way by the another view by the directors are making more money is that some studios are turning away from TV studios from broadcasting and using the Internet to distribute their works and perhaps later sell DVDs and merchandise based upon their works. The benefit from this is that it completely cuts out the middle man (TV Studio) out of the picture so it results in more money in the studio (shown by the higher wages the animation studio are getting in another view)
In conclusion, the Anime Industry needs to change to survive. With more people looking more carefully at corporate greed after the big bonuses that AIG were giving out to it’s workers for example, this should be a wakeup call for those TV Studios not to take a big sum from the Animation Studios so that the workers will at least have some more money to live with. It’s a sad reality and some wish that people could donate some money to the studios for support, but in reality… there isn’t such thing yet and also make some people who say I won’t buy x Anime because I can get the fansubs for free realize that every penny counts when supporting Anime Studios for the production of the series, so remember that.
- http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=86487&show=0 / http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-05-24/labor-group/animators-in-their-20s-earn-us$11600-a-year
Anime business – More on how they operate
One License to Rule Them All – Money in the Field – Possible solutions
If you see this text, this site has stolen my content. If you are affected by content thieves, look this domain up on a Whois Service, look up the IP and send a DMCA takedown with the host provider. STOP STEALING CONTENT AND MAKE YOUR OWN. Also, MATRIXAT, go fuck yourself you fucking thief!
6 Comments… read them or add your own.
Interesting. I thought the problem was supposed to be rampant piracy? Sounds even more suspiciously like what I keep hearing from music labels.. “ignore the middleman, the problem is the pirate”.
I appreciate that you made some effort to do some actual research this time. I also appreciate that you borrowed my Scrooge McDuck analogy from last time. :p However, the way you string the facts together and come to your “this should be a wake-up call” and “see the signs of corporate greed” conclusions still leave me scratching my head a bit.
The TV stations don’t “take money” from the animators at all. With late-night anime, the production committee makes a decision on how many stations they want to air the show on, and they pay TV stations accordingly for the privilege. The rate at which they pay the TV stations is basically whatever the market will bear. Keep in mind that anime content is so niche that the TV stations are essentially forgoing any hope of normal advertising revenue in those slots. So the TV stations are simply selling airtime to the anime distributors in the same way as we would sell airtime for infomercials. If this purchased airtime were to suddenly cost less, it’s not as if the production committee would necessarily redirect the funds to the animation production studio. Instead, they would simply not need to raise so much money from the sponsors to fund the show.
The money given to TV stations could be seen as simply “the cost of airing anime”. The fact that the cost of *airing* anime is so much higher than the cost of *making* anime is something of an imbalance, which is why a lot of publishers are trying out new distribution methods. But over the years I’m sure a lot of close business relationships have been forged between the various TV producers and anime distribution companies, so there’s somewhat of a vested interest in keeping the traditional business model going for as long as possible. And as I said, it’s not as if there’s some giant pot and the animation studio is left with the scraps. The money raised takes into account the amount of stations they want to air the show on and what that will cost.
Also, anime studios don’t generally make any money from streaming or licensing unless they’re part of the production committee. I had a hard time understanding the logic that lead you to that conclusion in that paragraph.
And by the way, you can find a translated version of that business model diagram in Zepy’s old post over on Canned Dogs:
.-= relentlessflame´s last blog ..Just Say No to Season Preview Creep =-.
So, Eve no Jikan is the model that anime studios should be pursuing then? I can see internet releases as being a good way to skip past the TV problems and if they can spruce it up for a DVD/BR release or something, that’d be very handy to have. I’d support this means to break the stranglehold that Old Media has upon the studios.
.-= zzereoparticle´s last blog ..Darker Than Black 2: Ryuusei no Gemini – Original Soundtrack – Review =-.
I think Eve no Jikan is a good example, but also look at Bounen no Xamdou. It aired on the PS network, and had impressive production values that made it one of the better titles of it’s season without wasting a third (or more) of it’s budget on distribution licenses.
Then there’s Bakemonogatari, an anime that’s an almost complete mess, but outselling everything else by a large margin. If the Old media want to market first and produce later, they should probably pick up on Bakemonogatari’s hints and stop expecting to sell the same thing over and over.
@relentlessflame Completely getting what you are saying. I failed to realize that yes, Broadcasting does cost money and so does marketing. Internet can be seen as a way to break from that so they can bring more revenue since the costs of streaming is a bit cheaper than broadcasting, providing they have the money for bandwidth.
@zzereoparticle Perhaps they should do that model since everyone has internet access in Japan, and also shares the ideas of Inde which some or most do the same, but make money self-selling their albums and also concerts.
@temperus Better accountability probably, but perhaps these extra companies like advertising, tv studios (at some extent), etc can be at fault at greed if it’s costing the Animation studio to put out the anime they make.
Yea, I see what relentlessflame is getting at with the terminology used. Which brought something more into question… where is the beginning? Who originates what will get produced? The sponsors, the committee, the studio? (Doubtful it’s the broadcasters)
I think the answer to that question matters, and for the most part, it might have varying answers for each series. Whoever starts the motion either has the money or knows where to get it, but what bugs me is why does this “entity” acknowledge the cost for broadcasting, but still go that route? Old media still exists, because other routes have more risky, I believe, but usually, the greater the risk, the greater the potential gain….
Sadly, I don’t feel Japanese culture is hellbent on taking risks, and proving to the Japanese “motioners” that taking the risk of out-looping broadcasters while still meeting comparable profits is going to be difficult, but not impossible. If a strong source published research on the thought, it would likely have impact either for or against out-looping bcasters especially if the research found potential profits noticeably different than “old media” ways.
There are some major issues with that last part, because researchers would likely not zero-in on the anime medium, but it would have to be a generalized perspective which fits other mediums in similar circumstances.
It’s complicated, and sadly I’m not sure the Japanese viewers are all that worried/upset about the pay discrepancies, but I’ve not looked into that part of the issue.
.-= Ryan A´s last blog ..Getting to Know Buzz =-.