Siren Visual. State of the Industry Q&A
I took the opportunity to ask Siren Visuals “Production Manager” some questions at Avcon. For all my non Aussie readers, Siren Visual are the generous overlords that have graced Australian fans with Titles such as Welcome to the NHK, Perfect Blue, Tatami Galaxy, Clannad, Durarara! and recently Angel Beats!.
We touched on a lot of topics so ill summarise each of them as best as I can remember, again I did not record this by audio or in written form (which I will remember to do next time) so the following will not be exact quotes.
Siren Visual Announcements
Siren Visual had a panel at AVCon where they showcased some of their new titles, A trailer for the Angel Beats! blu ray release was teased and so was one for the currently simulcasting Usagi Drop noitaminA anime. The Angel Beats! blu ray is set to be released in November 2 months after the DVD is released, The Angel Beats! DVD will be a complete collection and will sell at $50 RRP.
Following the trailer of Usagi Drop I asked how well the simulcasts were doing on Anime News Network. Aparently the numbers for Tiger & Bunny have been dwindling of late and are not as succesful as they had hoped. They will continue to Simulcast shows as long as the numbers dont get shockingly low which does not seem to be the case. They did admit however that competing with fansubs and anime streaming juggernauts Crunchyroll will not be an easy task, but as long as the fans have a legal form of viewing thier anime their goal is somewhat accomplished. They Also touched upon the subscription service that ANN|AU is providing for the simulcast streams. As expected the numbers are low but are slowly on the rise, the subscription service provides fans with earlier access to the shows as well as 720p full HD.
They also clarified the fact Dennou Coil which is not a currently airing anime will continue to be simulcast on ANN even after the DVD is released. They plan to use the simulcasts as an alternative to having anime on TV for advertising purposes.
Siren Visual also plan to continue to simulcast new shows as they air so Australian Anime fans can look forward to more new anime for free even next season.
The Simulcast talks lead to the question of fansubs and how Siren view them. They responded saying most of the subtitles in thier current releases are done by a former fansubber currently residing in Japan. They also admitted that most of the titles they pitch would not do as well had the fans not already seen or heard of the titles before. fansubs provide some form of advertisement for them as long as fans go on to buy the DVD’s when they are released it will not hurt the company.
They added however that the problem with hiring non professionals sometimes can be exhausting, especially when it comes to punctuality and the like.
When asked wether Siren plan to add special goodies and extras to thier sub only releases similar to what NISA have they replied saying having releases like that would make DVD prices very expensive and would most likely not be beneficial for business. They did specify that licences that do come with extras will be included in the package, at the moment their goal is to provide the most economical source of anime for thier fans.
They also said the Blu ray format has not yet caught on in Australia and is very expensive to produce, so only a handful of titles that they believe would do well on that format will be released on Blu Ray.
I asked wether Siren planned to release thier simulcast shows on DVD and the response was yes. They plan to release Usagi Drop on DVD by March of next year if it is not picked up by any American licencor and dubbed by then. C: For Control might also be released mid next year as a sub only title if FUNimation take forever to produce a dub for it as well.
A fan asked if they are interested in bringing the anime Shiki to Australia soon seeing as they are releasing a lot of noitaminA shows. They responded saying they had no comment on the subject.
When asked wether they are interested in ressurecting or bringing “classic” titles to Australia they responded saying ressurecting classic titles is near impossible. Because of the commitee system that Japan has in place for its anime licences, Old titles are hard to aquire because those commitees simply dont exist anymore or are very difficult to get hold of.
How New Licences Are Chosen
Personal taste plays an important role on most of the new titles that Siren Visual choose to pick up. The company is targeting a “different” audience with thier “unique” titles, most of them coming from the noitaminA slot. They believe by doing this they differentiate themselves from thier competition and also provide a wide variety of genres for the Australian fans to pick from.
Some titles are picked up based upon popularity and how well they could sell, Durarara!, Clannad and Angel Beats! would be perfect examples of these as they stand out among the almost “arthouse” titles on the Siren Catalogue.
Siren Visual are the only company in the English speaking world to release a home video version of The Tatami Galaxy, Trapeze and House of Five Leaves among others. So when asked wether they plan on advertising their products worldwide they answered saying the rights they aquired for those series was bound to region 4 only. However, every once in a while the odd international mail order is recieved.
State of The Company
I asked the very personal question of wether company is making a profit or not and they responded saying they are doing just fine and fans can look forward to more titles within the coming months.
A special thanks to Siren Visual for the interview. More Siren news can be viewed on thier website which they update often http://www.sirenvisual.com.au/Home.php