Friday, September 21, 2007

:anime: Up A Creek with Geneon USA:: ADV Deal Done Away With...

Over a week ago, it was posted that Geneon and ADV Films would be entering a "strategic alliance" that would see the latter Houston-based company take over distribution, select marketing, and sales duties from the Japanese subsidary come October 1. Now, the biggest news in the North American anime industry just got much bigger...and more odd.

Yesterday, ANN reported that the big deal had been nixed, with both sides (much like the first time) remaining mum on the news or the details. Today, Dentsu, Inc., Geneon's parent company, officially announced via press release that the partnership would indeed not see the light of day. Their side had decided not to go through with the plans despite, opting instead to focus on "management of its works porfolio".

With rather vague news dipped in business-speak, and of magnitude such as this, one is left to ponder what the future of Geneon really is past October 1 (the day "the management" begins). With the statement given above, the details of the now-dead deal, and Geneon's change in tactics (see the previous post), the signals appear to point more towards a downscaling into a licensing arm than a flat-out withdrawl from the U.S. market, with a finishing-up of whatever titles they had listed for a release date. The transformation becomes more clear when considering Geneon USA appearing in the production credits of anime shows they later acquire (Ergo Proxy, Black Lagoon, for example)--a sign of faster U.S. solicitations--and the success of other licensing-only subsidiaries, such as Kadokawa's and Enoki Films'.

For the moment, this is all still speculation, as Dentsu remains rather quite about this situation. Regardless, from a business perspective, this looks poorly handled as such a major deal falls through a little over a week before it is slated to begin and the future of the branch looks as muddled and mysterious as it did when the deal was first announced. Hopefully, more concrete news and details will be made available and DVDs already announced for get sent off on time. After October 1, who knows what will lie for Geneon downstream, much less before then...

P.S.: ...And what of Bandai Visual USA? With no distributor in Geneon, will they have to place a heavier reliance on their dot-anime web shop? Will their titles still be released alongside Geneon's with the distributor that the latter chooses (if any one (1) company), or will they need to shop around for another group?..."Big Sis", perhaps? (Bandai Ent.)...

Update: ADV Films has also released a press statement confirming the deal breakdown. Their claim of withdrawl is in line with Dentsu's stating of an inability to reach a "mutual agreement".

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