June 20, 2008
Sho-Pro becomes Sho-Shu
Posted by Madeline
Yesterday, the Anime News Network reported that two of Viz Media’s parent companies are joining in a unique way to streamline the licensing and distribution of anime and manga titles. Major publisher Shueisha has made an investment in Shogakukan Productions, the licensing and merchandising arm of publisher Shogakukan. Both companies are parents of Viz, so this new partnership should benefit fans of Viz’ products in the North America. During a press conference on the subject, representatives from both companies described the move as part of a strategy to increase availability of Japanese products in overseas markets (while maintaining control over those products).
It’s only June, but already it’s been a big summer for news about licensing and distribution of anime and manga outside Japan. The market is changing, and we’ll be intrigued to see what’s on shelves (and how it’s reaching them) this Christmas.
June 4, 2008
Tokyopop Splits in Half
Posted by Madeline
Major manga distributor Tokyopop has split in half in a move that will eliminate 39 positions within Tokypop, Inc. The company is creating a new film and media division, Tokyopop Media LLC, which will supervise projects outside the pages of manga. The company is also going through re-structuring at the executive levels, with key personnel trading or changing positions.
Publishing production will be reduced by roughly 50% through the rest of the year, reducing output to roughly 200-225 titles per year from a planned total of over 500 titles. Tokyopop CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the Tokyopop Group, Stuart Levy, explained the reasons for the reduction in output. “The time is now for us to focus our publishing business to overcome current market challenges. Few releases will allow for less cannibalization at retail.”
Changes have been afoot at Tokyopop all season, with the announcement of their new Pilot Program which allows online manga readers to read excerpts of new manga in an effort to help Tokyopop decide which get published. The key: these artists can come from anywhere in the world, not just Japan, and the new program allows fanartists to submit original works. (Yaoi fanartists Dany & Dany have their own vampire manga up for discussion, for example.) However, the “pact” between these new (often young) creators and Tokyopop has raised a few eyebrows, possibly for stipulations like this one:
“MORAL RIGHTS” AND YOUR CREDIT
“Moral rights” is a fancy term (the French thought it up) that basically has to do with having your name attached to your creation (your credit!) and the right to approve or disapprove certain changes to your creation. Of course, we want you to get credit for your creation, and we want to work with you in case there are changes, but we want to do so under the terms in this pact instead of under fancy French idea. So, in order for us to adapt the Manga Pilot for different media, and to determine how we should include your credit in tough situations, you agree to give up any “moral rights” you might have. Of course, you still have your rights under this pact to your credit.
WHAT WE CAN DO WITH YOUR CREDIT
And, speaking of your credit, customarily we give you credit for your work as the writer and/or artist of the Manga Pilot. However, we may have to shorten or leave out your credit when the space available or the conventions of a format won’t permit it or if it would have to be too small to read (for example, when the Manga Pilot is viewed on mobile phones). You’re OK with this.