Bandai Visual details their US businesses plan
Bandai Visual held a panel at Anime Boston where they went over the details of their release plans and the businesses model they plan to use in the US anime market. For anyone who is confused, Bandai Visual is a separate company from Bandai Entertainment. Bandai Visual is releasing the new Gunbuster series as well as Wings of Honneamise. Bandai Entertainment is the company behind the US Gundam releases, Big O, Cowboy Bebop and many other shows. Both are owned by BandaiNamco.
Bandai Visual plans to do US releases of the same discs that are sold under the Bandai Visual name in Japan with a subtitle track added. They will be sold at roughly the same price as importing them from Japan. For example, disc one of the new Gunbuster aka Diebuster 2 OVA series will be retailing for 39.99 for one one-hour episode. Episodes 2 and 3 will retail for the same price and both will be coming out in June of 2007.
The representative of Bandai Visual at the convention, a very nice if some what soft spoken gentleman who seemed to be a bit overwhelmed by the recent response to Bandai Visual’s plans when they were first released at Sakuracon 2007, broke down the company’s rationale for going about pricing their products as they are. They are very worried about reverse importation of their discs as DVD technology moves into the next generation, which does not have an region lockouts like the current generation does.
DVD prices in Japan are typically much higher than prices in America and Bandai Visual appears to be worried that if they release their products here using the business model that the majority of US anime companies use they will see a mass re-importation of DVDs from the US to Japan, cutting deeply into the company’s revenue. Bandai Visual does not plan to aim their products at the casual anime fan that likes the look of something on the shelf and buys it. Rather, they are aiming at the hardcore collector who already knows about the show and is planning to buy it no matter what.