ANN has a great Mailbox section entitled Hey, Answerman! This month, questions to Answerman are all anime industry related which I think may interest you guys on the “what’s what” and “how for’s”. I’ll provide a little rundown of what was talked about but for the full nitty-gritty answers, drop by ANN, and be sure to check his older articles. They tend to be pretty informative and interesting. Anyways, on to the good stuff!
How much do original artists get paid in the anime and manga industry?
Answerman Answer in Short: Very little!
Rio’s Take: Very depressing but true. Anime and manga publishers acquire the license from the Japanese copyright holder, usually a significant amount, to release the series at their region. The publisher will then have to put in money to translate, package, and pay for the printing of that series. Money also has to be put into marketing the new release which adds up to the cost of bringing the title over. Years ago, the now dead ADV supposedly paid millions to acquire the Evangelion license from Gainax. I haven’t heard any company acquiring licenses for properties at that price these days but you can bet it’s a large hurdle to break even with so many overhead cost.
Is airing anime’s on TVs or streaming them online really profitable?
Answerman Answer in Short: They’re basically advertising in the hopes for more sales in DVDs and merchandise.
Rio’s Take: In between the lines, that means no money.
Is dubbing in-house better than outsourcing?
Answerman Answer in Short: Not necessarily. It can actually be cheaper to outsource than to do it in-house.
Rio’s Take: Think China. Sometimes it’s better to do it yourselves but other times – hey, cheap labor!
As you can see, it’s really tough to earn money in this industry. The actual money is in merchandising such as t-shirts, figurines, posters, keychains, and all kinds of chotskies. One major point I have to stress to anyone here interested in pursuing to publish their creations is that you make sure you retain the rights to your work. Do NOT hand over the copyright to your work and be sure to consult a lawyer before you sign anything to make sure you’re not getting the short end of the stick. All contracts are negotiable and if you have some reservations about something, walk away. It’s better to pass on something than to get totally burned.