From the desk of the President of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Eric P. Sherman:
You must have noticed by now that many of the publishers that brought anime to the West have been shut down or substantially down-sized. There are only a few places left still able to bring titles to our shores. This is a critical year for anime. There’s no other way to say it. And I realized this morning that it was time for me to sound an urgent alarm.
If people don’t resist the urge to get their fix illegally, the entire industry is about to fizzle out. It won’t be a big dramatic change at this point. Last year we saw Bandai fire 90% of their staff on one Monday in January, and two years ago we saw Geneon (neé Pioneer) shut their doors and auction off their wares to the highest bidder. CPM died a slow, painful death. And ADV fell hard and fast, the way mighty giants will. But from here on, it won’t be so exciting. Japan is already suffering and struggling to bring out quality titles. They can’t rely on everything being picked up by US distributors anymore. And little by little, it just won’t be here anymore.
You can’t find much anime at Best Buy now. In fact, where can you find it for sale? Think about that. There are fewer new titles coming out, and less and less stuff will be in English because it’s just not worth the cost of dubbing it. It’s true that entertainment distribution models are going to be changing dramatically. DVD may be on the way out forever, and online TV is becoming a reality very quickly. But so far, there are no successful ways to monetize online entertainment. Not so that creators can afford to produce and distribute quality content.
Anime is going to die
Unless YOU change. Right now. Stop stealing. If you have committed theft, robbery, shoplifting, or just “downloading some stuff through the torrent reactor,” then just stop doing it — now. You probably wouldn’t go into a supermarket and put a package of swiss cheese under your shirt and walk out without paying. Nor would you walk into Best Buy and try to walk out with Guitar Hero, bypassing the cash register. Why? Is it because you might get caught? Or are there other issues, such as standards of morality, that dictate how you live your life.
The net, for all its charms, is also a dark and dangerous place. When you’re navigating it, you need to ask yourself this question: Is this right, just because it is so easy? You need to understand that quality entertainment costs a lot to create. And if there is no one paying for this content, it just won’t be made anymore. If no one bought tickets to a Lady GaGa show, she would not do the tour. That’s just how it works. For some reason, people don’t mind stealing their anime. I’m here to tell you flat out: This is wrong. You are doing something bad. And you need to stop it.
I’m sure that some of you reading this will laugh, close this window, and go download some more torrents. Why not? Who’s going to know? Who’s going to catch you?
I think this bears repetition, so I’ll say it again: Not getting caught does not make what you are doing right. And I am pretty sure it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. What you are doing is not only illegal, it is actually hurting many people. From the artists and creators to the voice actors in the studios — all working to put food on their tables for their families. You can’t see them, and you can’t see the immediate results of your actions. But believe me, you are hurting people.
If what I’m saying resonates with you, then consider this a wake up call. A call to immediate and profound action. It’s very easy to do. You should support anime if you love it, by paying for it. Do the right thing. Plain and simple. Because if you don’t, I can guarantee you that this time next year, Bang Zoom won’t be bringing you anymore English language versions of it.
To all of those who support anime: a heartfelt thank you from all of us at the studio.
Eric P. Sherman, President & CEO, Bang Zoom! Entertainment / April 24, 2010