Right on the heels of reading about the Comcast/Odex snafu, I came across this interview with Arthur Smith, the president of G.D.H Int’l on activeanime.com. Part of me wants to agree with him. I mean, he’s right. People who download fansubs and don’t buy the DVDs hurt the market. As HardCheese pointed out in a recent post, it’s simple econimics.
But something bothers me… What could it possibly ever be? Oh yeah, we don’t actually have any real numbers. Well except for this part:
“…why the overall DVD market in US is down 15% and anime DVD market, even though interest in anime is GROWING much faster than other types of programming, is down 30%!! How can that be, if not through the impact of file sharing!?!”
Besides the extreme overuse of exclamation points (I mean how do you yell more than yelling), I’m curious about these percentages. So the DVD market overall is down 15 percent? What does that mean really? If 100 DVDs were sold last year then this year 85 DVDs are sold? Or does it mean that if the company made $100 last year on DVD sales, they made $85 this year on those same sales?
I tell you those percentages are tricky. And can you really compare a relatively small niche market to a larger mass audience market at all? It seems to me that these are alarmist tactics at best. At worst, they’re downright fabrications.
On top of that, I’m having a really hard time feeling bad for Mr. Smith. It’s really easy to blame the fansubs. He even says “What other reason could there be?” And then turns around an points out one of the top reasons – There’s a two year gap between when the show is released in Japan and when it’s released in the United States.
Let me give you another one, Mr. Smith. I just spent $30 filling up a 12 gallon tank of gas. My electricity, cable and rent are all going up, but my paycheck isn’t. Oh, here’s another one – the quality of your shows have gone so far downhill in the last couple of years that your company has officially been branded a laughingstock.
Oh wait. But see you can’t attack those. So it has to be those naughty fansubbers that are doing it to you. For goodness sake, lay off the semantics. Yes, people who do not buy the anime DVDs (or at least rent them) are hurting the industry. But to simply throw some meaningless numbers up there and expect the rest of us to run around like Chicken Little screaming, “The sky is falling.”
Well, that’s just dirty.