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Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

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  • Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

    Widgets Magazine
    With news this week of Crunchyroll getting themselves set up on the Apple TV, it brought to mind something that I’ve always advocated for but has been difficult for a number of reasons to get done. One of the things promoted when Blu-ray was a new format was that there would be all sorts of [...]

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    Anime is not a right. It is a privilege, a consumer product, art, work for hire, a luxury, a hobby, entertainment.

    Find me on Facebook and Follow Me on Twitter to see plenty of silliness in the anime and manga worlds and much, much more.

  • #2
    Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

    I think anime should be released with a digital copy. With most anime series being released on multiple disc its a pain having to always change out a disc, this is especially true for series that have over a hundred episodes. And with multiple disc DVD changers becoming obsolete there is no way for anime fans to do a proper marathon session of a series they haven't watched in a long time. Granted streaming services are awesome, but they are only good for newer shows and they don't have access to older fan favorites. Plus digital copies is also a great way to backup and save your anime collection and it gives you the option of taking your anime anywhere you go.

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    • #3
      Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

      It might be useful for watching HD anime on the PC since they still don't unconditionally support BD playback. I don't own any Apple gadgets and don't plan to, so the usefulness would end there.
      Avatar: Misaka Mikoto, the Railgun. Level 5 Electromaster and Ace of Tokiwadai Middle School.

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      • #4
        Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

        I have never used the digital copy that's come with any of the movies I've bought, so I'm sure I would never use an anime digital copy. (I'm a simple-tech kinda gal. I don't mind changing discs.)

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        • #5
          Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

          Hmmm... what if they offered a redeem code for a free month subscription to CR, FUNi.com, Neon Alley, Vizanime.com, or TAN as an incentive to buy more discs instead? Just a thought. Digital copy is nice for convenience sake, but I buy shows to own on disc and watch in HD. I can view free ad supported SD subs legally on the sites I just mentioned, but if they gave free monthly/weekly/daily redeem codes with anime disc purchases that would be an added value for me to watch more anime in HD ad free online.
          My Anime List - My Collection
          Avatar: Kirino Kousaka & Ruri "Kuro Neko" Gokou from the anime Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo).
          Adroc Thurston - "Don't beg for things. Do it yourself, or else you won't get anything."
          Anemone - "So many faces looking like they're thinking even though they're not. So disgusting."

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          • #6
            Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

            They’ll need to offer Digital Copy, and soon. Consumer- and prosumer-level computers are already powerful enough to convert BD video to 720p HD very quickly and 1080p HD at a 1:1 time ratio, and a real screamer like the new Mac Pro (presumably) will make even shorter work of it. Granted, one violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in so doing (even though such activity should fall under Fair Use doctrine), but the anime companies, with their relatively small legal departments, will have a real job proving anything. So not only will they need to offer Digital Copy, but they’ll need to offer HD Digital Copy (which nobody is offering yet).

            The rub, of course, is licensing. All of the titles that Funimation and Sentai have made available through iTunes are English-only with no subtitles, and I would guess that’s because the licensors won’t allow them to include Japanese audio or subtitles on those products. iTunes itself supports multiple audio tracks and soft subtitles, as do the Video apps on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV; and the inclusion of extra tracks is a fairly minor detail. If Digital Copy is going to work, it has to work for all consumers.

            If the US anime publishers start offering HD anime with Japanese audio and subtitles through iTunes, I will buy it that way. I would prefer it. I have enough clutter in my life without needing more discs in more cases.

            Another thing: If they use Ultraviolet instead of iTunes, deal me out. It may have improved since I last tried to use it, but it was shit on toast. It required Flash on the Mac, it was not half as fast as iTunes, the video stuttered (because Flash), and moving a file to iPhone or iPad through iTunes was not possible. You had to re-download the file (extra slow) or stream it (not possible if one is on an airplane or in a fast-moving vehicle with no WiFi).
            I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
            Stephen King

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            • #7
              Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

              I always thought digital copies were pretty useless. If you wanted it digital then would you really have bought it on BD or DVD anyway? It just another wasted featured to come with products as I never redeemed them due to A) various drm type scheme with them involved or being specific for some program, and B) the space issue with having to transfer the digital copy (also they seem to lack even including the special features from the boxed product).
              AOTY 2015: Food Wars!, AssClass, Seraph of the End, Fafner Exodus, UtaPri3, Herobank, MajinBone, Durarara!!x2, Buddyfight, Vanguard G, Yugioh Arc-V MAL|

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              • #8
                Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                Personally I do not want them to bundle digital copies with Bluray/DVD. I never use the ones that comes with american shows or movies. I just see it as a way to charge more for a DVD. If you want the show digitally than buy it in that format and leave my physical releases alone.
                Avatar: Haruka from Sakura Trick

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                • #9
                  Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                  Originally posted by adc View Post
                  . . . one violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in so doing (even though such activity should fall under Fair Use doctrine), . . .
                  That's what needs to be fixed, not bundling a digital copy (or any other format). By tradition, law, and legal precedent, its well established that you buy a (fully transferable) license to use the item in question, in whatever non-commercial fashion you see fit, when you buy the item itself.

                  So you shouldn't need a digital copy to watch on your computer - you already have the legal right to do so (assuming you own an authentic copy of the disk). And DRM technically subverts your legal rights to your property. So what we really need is copyright reform.




                  Edit:This is not an endorsement of piracy or bootlegging, by the way. This covers only the original, authentic disk, and a single backup copy (which is supposed to be destroyed if you ever sell the original)
                  Last edited by One Vorlon; 06-22-2013, 01:59 AM.
                  "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

                  -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

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                  • #10
                    Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                    Originally posted by otakualchemist View Post
                    Personally I do not want them to bundle digital copies with Bluray/DVD. I never use the ones that comes with american shows or movies. I just see it as a way to charge more for a DVD. If you want the show digitally than buy it in that format and leave my physical releases alone.
                    First off, they’re going to charge more for a DVD no matter what. That’s not Digital Copy. That’s capitalism, be it ever so humble, and we’re already seeing it in the anime sector with no DC option. Gone are the days of Sentai 13-episode sets for $39.99, in case you haven’t noticed. Sixty bucks. Seventy, if it’s Bluray. One hopes that Sentai and Funimation have decided $60/$70 is enough. If not? They’ll push the price up to $70/$80. One hopes there will be some value-add to make it worthwhile, and Digital Copy is a damned sight better than a box or a slipcover with alternate artwork.
                    I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
                    Stephen King

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                      It's not something I've ever used when it's been included with a more mainstream release, and my anime habits aren't in any way different such that I'd be any more inclined to take advantage of such a thing if it did become a standard feature with any anime releases. It's not out of any particular aversion to the format or concept, but rather it's just something I've never needed to use. I certainly wouldn't object if anime studios found it to be worthwhile to convince the Japanese that this sort of thing wasn't some additional threat (all things considered, it's not, but when you have licensors whose behavior is characterized significantly by crippling paranoia, asking for anything new is a terrible battle), pay the monies required to make it happen, and start including digital copies with some releases. It's obviously a value-added proposition for some fans, and even if it isn't for me, I'm always ready to be supportive of such things.

                      I do think otakualchemist raises a legitimate concern, and adc's addressing of it is somewhat off the mark, in that it's very much a possibility that a domestic studio might consider the option of a digital copy but only with a coincident price increase. It's a mischaracterization of the recent (i.e. past five or six years) industry to suggest that prices are always creeping up as if it's happening consistently and frequently across the board like we're talking about stock futures or something, so a rote dismissal of pricing concerns as tied to theoretical digital copies doesn't seem like a very helpful way of addressing the prospect. If digital copies would result in something like a $5 price increase, I wouldn't balk at that and stop buying things by any means, but I certainly would look at it the same way that I and others look at any number of other features of variable desirability that are tied to price increases, everything from artboxes to dubs, as being something that isn't necessarily value-added for me but which I'm having to subsidize anyway, and is a small nuisance as a result.

                      I would fully expect a price increase to be tied to the inclusion of digital copies, since the Japanese would likely mandate an additional fee regardless of how small the actual production costs might be and I don't think even FUNimation would be willing to just eat that difference. Maybe if such a thing as a consumer digital copy was even a thing ten years ago (when prices were higher across the board, profit margins were greater, and overall sales were up), but not these days.

                      It's not, for me, a big deal to handle physical discs and various forms of packaging; one, because whatever I'm watching or plan to watch soon all sits on a large table where my PS3 lives, both of which are actually within reach of where I typically sit in my living room for viewing, and two, because much of what I'm not watching is all out in the open and arranged nicely in shelves and whatnot either at the far end of the living room or in my home office/library. I, of course, am not a typical fan. Certainly, most fans don't have the space to devote one-and-a-half rooms, plus storage, to a hobby. (Or for that matter to be involved in and willing to support a hobby such that so much space would be required at all.) And, as some folks know, even though I continue to maintain a Crunchyroll subscription, it's actually very rarely that I make use of it, and do a terrible job of watching simulcasts, even though I've got both a PS3 and a computer up and running and logistically it's still more simple to just click-click-click and start up an episode than to go walk and get a disc or even reach over and pull out a disc from my actual physical to-watch pile right next to me. I'm really not sure why that is.
                      asa --> S^2 --> Hayate
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                      • #12
                        Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                        Originally posted by adc View Post
                        One hopes there will be some value-add to make it worthwhile, and Digital Copy is a damned sight better than a box or a slipcover with alternate artwork.
                        I think one reason you don't see DC as prevalent from the anime companies is because of the cost to implement/maintain the infrastructure behind it. It could be a huge expenditure that might only see little benefit. It's probably cheaper for them to print a slipcover or artbox, than it is to license, create a new encode, QA that encode, implement and maintain the DRM behind it, and market it to what possibly amounts to a collector's niche. Otherwise, it'll be competing with the streaming market, which has its own hiccups.

                        The way I'm seeing this all heading is that DC could just end up being exclusively available via Internet download (on-demand/service-based) instead of a copy to transfer from your computer to whatever portable device you plan to watch it on. I suspect the big studios are heading that direction. If the anime companies can't do something similar, streaming services may be the only alternative.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                          Originally posted by Sensuifu View Post
                          I think one reason you don't see DC as prevalent from the anime companies is because of the cost to implement/maintain the infrastructure behind it. It could be a huge expenditure that might only see little benefit. It's probably cheaper for them to print a slipcover or artbox, than it is to license, create a new encode, QA that encode, implement and maintain the DRM behind it, and market it to what possibly amounts to a collector's niche. Otherwise, it'll be competing with the streaming market, which has its own hiccups.
                          I think you brought up a really crucial reason why North American anime licensors have not tried Digital Copy yet. It is an added expenditure, which I believe is not worth the time and effort invested for them.

                          I'm reminded of a three part feature on Anime News Network titled, The Anime Economy; All three parts are accessible from part one in the link I provided. In the feature, the costs associated with making and distributing anime are discussed in detail. The general conclusion reached is anime disc prices are currently priced well below the NA anime licensors' desired price point and sales often struggle to make up for licensing fees (also known as a "Minimum Guarantee") and sunk costs (dubbing and subtitling, disc replication and distribution, etcetera). The fact that retailers share a disproportionately higher piece of the revenue pie than licensors in NA further complicates things and adds to their risk factor in licensing home media rights. Since the margins for the NA anime licensors are slim already, I think adding more cost to physical releases in the form of DC would be a waste of valuable revenue that would be better spent elsewhere (like licensing new shows).

                          Online anime streaming subscriptions are the best alternative for NA anime licensors to bring in more revenue. Perhaps investments in upgrading online streaming sites and offering more flexibility with playback in that area would be a wiser decision for both them and the majority of consumers. I feel most people buying anime on disc are doing so to own a physical copy of a show they enjoy first and foremost. DC is a nice add-on in theory but not necessarily a big selling feature for collectors when there is already many online streaming options available legally as an alternative to [DRM-ed] DC versions.

                          If DC is to work at all with anime disc purchases, it probably needs to be online download based. In other words, the consumer gets a redeem code to download a DC of the episodes they just purchased via the licensor's website or a digital distribution service like iTunes or Amazon. My main concern with any form of digital copy bundled with a physical disc purchase is the price of the physical product will most certainly rise proportionately to recoup the sunk costs that funded the inclusion of DC. No business wants to unnecessarily eat costs to subsidize added features when they are only turning modest profits, if any, as it stands. This reality guarantees DC will indeed make the physical release cost more (just how much more is still up for debate). As a collector of anime on physical media, DC adds little to no value for me personally if it results in a higher priced physical release. If I really want DC, I can always buy DC anime episodes for many series, in HD even, on iTunes or Amazon presently.
                          Last edited by sonic; 06-23-2013, 03:36 AM.
                          My Anime List - My Collection
                          Avatar: Kirino Kousaka & Ruri "Kuro Neko" Gokou from the anime Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo).
                          Adroc Thurston - "Don't beg for things. Do it yourself, or else you won't get anything."
                          Anemone - "So many faces looking like they're thinking even though they're not. So disgusting."

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                          • #14
                            Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                            It would be nice but I'm not sweating it. Pretty much everything I buy is available via my CR subscription or is on Hulu. I'd rather get like a free month of those than a digital copy. CR is where I go to watch stuff that I have on disc so I probably wouldn't watch a digital copy anyways.

                            Plus I saw some stuff on tv but I really came into bring an anime fan via fansubs. If I'm really dying for a non-disc/streaming method (which I'm not), I know where to go for it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Should Anime Releases Come With Digital Copy?

                              It's of no value to me if I have the discs.

                              A different question would be: "would I buy a purely digital license of a show?"

                              I would do that, but only at a much lower cost than a physical copy. For example if they offered a 13-episode HD download for $20, it would get me to buy some shows that I only rent or stream now.

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