DistributionSee also: Anime licensing
While anime had entered markets beyond Japan in the 1960s, it grew as a major cultural export during its market expansion during the 1980s and 1990s. The anime market for the United States alone is "worth approximately $4.35 billion, according to the Japan External Trade Organization". Anime has also had commercial success in Asia, Europe and Latin America, where anime has become more mainstream than in the United States. For example, the Saint Seiya video game was released in Europe due to the popularity of the show even years after the series has been off-air.
Anime distribution companies handled the licensing and distribution of anime outside Japan. Licensed anime is modified by distributors through dubbing into the language of the country and adding language subtitles to the Japanese language track. Using a similar global distribution pattern as Hollywood, the world is divided into five regions. John Oppliger stated that since 2008, the average cost of producing a dub is about US$10,000 for a single 25 minute episode. With shows typically spanning 12-26 episodes long, costs of producing a professional caliber English dub for a series can run well over US$200,000.
Some editing of cultural references may occur to better follow the references of the non-Japanese culture. Certain companies may remove any objectionable content, complying with domestic law. This editing process was far more prevalent in the past (e.g. Voltron), but its use has declined because of the demand for anime in its original form. This "light touch" approach to localization has favored viewers formerly unfamiliar with anime. Robotech and Star Blazers were the earliest attempts to present anime (albeit still modified) to North American television audiences without harsh censoring for violence and mature themes.
With the advent of DVD, it became possible to include multiple language tracks into a simple product. This was not the case with VHS cassette, in which separate VHS media were used and with each VHS cassette priced the same as a single DVD. The "light touch" approach also applies to DVD releases as they often include both the dubbed audio and the original Japanese audio with subtitles, typically unedited. Anime edited for television is usually released on DVD "uncut", with all scenes intact.
The Internet has played a significant role in the exposure of anime beyond Japan. Prior to the 1990s, anime had limited exposure beyond Japan's borders. Coincidentally, as the popularity of the Internet grew, so did interest in anime. Much of the fandom of anime grew through the Internet. The combination of internet communities and increasing amounts of anime material, from video to images, helped spur the growth of fandom. As the Internet gained more widespread use, Internet advertising revenues grew from 1.6 billion yen to over 180 billion yen between 1995 and 2005.
Some fan groups add subtitles to anime on their own and distribute the episodes. These are known as fansubs. Before the popularity of the Internet, fansubbing used VHS as a means of distribution. Often, people will collect these fansubs and upload them to websites which they also put advertisements on so as to earn money, which violates copyright laws in many countries. The ethical implications of distributing or watching fansubs are topics of much controversy even when fansub groups do not profit from their activities. Once the series has been licensed outside of Japan, fansub groups often cease distribution of their work. In one case, Media Factory Incorporated requested that no fansubs of their material be made, which was respected by the fansub community. In another instance, Bandai specifically thanked fansubbers for their role in helping to make The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya popular in the English speaking world.
John Oppliger stated that despite the tremendous increase in global anime digital distribution over the years, streaming does not generate a lot of profit. Sites dedicated to streaming such as Crunchyroll and NicoNico are simply maintaining and DVD larger distributors are only able to use online streaming as a means to attract traffic, generate brand loyalty, and advertise the physical releases.
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Other articles related to "distribution":
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“My topic for Army reunions ... this summer: How to prepare for war in time of peace. Not by fortifications, by navies, or by standing armies. But by policies which will add to the happiness and the comfort of all our people and which will tend to the distribution of intelligence [and] wealth equally among all. Our strength is a contented and intelligent community.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)
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“In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other mens thinking.”
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