Discuss: What Would YOU Do if YOU Were the CEO of Odex?

I’m quite bored of the whole fansubs issue by now but allow me to make my stance clear on this.

Before you proceed, do check out several articles which I have used for material on this post.

Impz’ and his analysis of the Straits Time article on Fansubs
Prof Henry Jenkins’ When Piracy Becomes Promotion
5parrowhawk and his Interview with the Head Honcho of AVPAS, Dr Toh
ANN’s Interview with John Ledford, Head of ADV Films

After which, I add some casual observations from local forums, IRC channels and in particular, the local nerds at the Nerd Hub. The sentiments being floated around include (in condensed form for easy reading):

"OMFGWTFBBQ ODEX DIE RAWR!
After I finish the last episode, Odex then comes out with the first. Why should I wait?
Odex is stopping a dam with a thumb.
The local industry will only suffer because less people will be up to date with series and hence less will buy merchandise.
Odex sucks and their quality is worse than fansubs, why would anyone buy?
I hate Odex even more now and so won’t buy!"
Note that the above represents public sentiment and not mine. I disagree with many of them and shall explain why.

People are spoilt. They have been getting this freebie known as anime for far too long and now are hugely against the idea of actually paying for anything. Of course there are the minority, like most of us here who direct funds into other aspects of fandom such as figures, original R2s, posters and magazines. But fact is that there are many freeloaders around who just download, maybe buy a counterfeit keychain or two from Comics Connection and claim to be a fan.

Let’s ignore the correctness and legality of the situation for this paragraph and relate it to the welfare state system in many European countries. Citizens in many of these countries have been so used to free healthcare, unemployment handouts and the like that when these are taken away, there are strikes and riots. While not the most accurate analogy, it just illustrates how people can get dependant on freebies and take them for granted. Deep down, I’ve always known that the current system of filesharing is not legal and sooner or later something would happen to cause changes to it. So the time has come it seems, and as expected many people still want their freebies.

Odex is a commercial firm – which means they serve to make profits. Many anime fans seem to think that Odex isn’t entitled to make profits, I don’t see how they can say that while keeping a straight face. Maybe that’s why they aren’t CEOs of companies. My point is, there is no bad or good guy in Odex, they want profits and they do need revenue to stay afloat. Did you know that the anime you see on TV, with the exception of Animax, comes under the distribution of Odex? If they weren’t around, perhaps there might not be anime on TV and you won’t see youngsters picking it up as a hobby. Think about it, how many of you guys first saw anime through your TVs? So the people out there cursing for the fall of Odex, you might just get it and you might not exactly like the result after.

I’m not a fan of Odex either. In fact, I’m still demanding my money back for my 2 VCD Azumanga Daioh box sets which I bought, saw the first two episodes, kept in my drawer and bought the manga instead. However, name-calling and hate messages over the internet or in the local gossip corner isn’t helping. And this annoys me.

What we should be doing is to think of ideas through which both fans and Odex can have a symbiotic relationship. I applaud the efforts of 5parrowhawk, whose interview transcript you all really should read.

I would like to post all you readers here a simple question: If you were the CEO and key decision maker of Odex, what are the steps you would take to ensure your company has a healthy profit?

Though I don’t really like to babysit your thought processes, I urge you to consider some key points before posting your ideas as comments.

  • Odex lost 70 percent of their sales in one year. It’s obviously the year that BT became prevalent, which does imply some sort of causality.
  • Odex is limited by many constraints such as local draconian censorship laws, Japanese studio requirements such as intentional bad packaging to prevent reverse importing, and a relatively small capital.
  • Singapore has a near 80 percent PC ownership rate and over 70 percent internet connection rate.
  • Singapore has awesome law-enforcement capabilities.
  • Licensing series requires lots of negotiations which takes time and effort. Hot series, such as Naruto, are packaged and bundled with crappy ones, in a license pack.
  • Singaporeans are so used to having free anime episodes that many casual viewers no longer even consider anime worth buying. Or should I say, these casual fans would never have been fans had there been barriers of entry such as MONEY. The recent surge in anime popularity worldwide is possibly due to filesharing providing instant access to the latest shows for free.
  • Hardcore fans scream of their demand, but their numbers are so few. Casual fans are numerous but silent.
  • Singapore has a tiny population which hinders economies of scale.

My answer: If I were CEO, I would place much more importance on the internet as a marketing medium. The key commodity in the 21st century is information – everyone demands instantaneous information, even if it’s not accurate. Fans get mightily pissed off at a lack of information. I would maintain a proper and regularly updated website, equipped with a blog and forum (see Chuangyi, the manga equivalent of Odex, who succeeded in this aspect.) for the fans to voice their opinions and feel the connection. Almost all anime-related companies are started by people with a love for the hobby and Odex is no exception.

DVDs and VCDs are probably not the current main income generators for Odex and rightly so. These have lost relevance in a region where consumers have become so accustomed to a more liquid medium with lower (read: free) costs. I would have propose a timely direct download paying service, DRM free, in addition to DVDs sold in stores.Hello, we’re in 2007, can we stop using VCDs already? The problem with VCDs is that people expect DVD quality but on a VCD, which is retarded.

The three major factors would be cost, quality and timeliness obviously. But these alone will not be enough, not when you have fansubs being a totally free alternative that is "good enough" for most people. Here is where the stick comes in. Traditionally, Singaporeans are extremely afraid of the police and bans here work incredibly effective. Look at bloody chewing gum! I even hate chewing gum! I would sneakily egg the authorities into publicising on the news about the illegality of fansub downloads and the REALLLY severe penalties involved. Announcing to the hordes on the proper licensing status of series is also important to keeping them off fansubs. If fans see a certain show coming on the local horizon, chances are they won’t be rushing to get it. The way I see it, Odex seems to be keeping its cards close to its chest because they want fans to think it’s not ok to download anything. But it’s impossible, fans want to download for free. It’s like how all men want sex! Those who don’t are either dead or not born yet. The key is to let them have a suitable amount, but not too much.

The more I write, the more Machiavellian I become… heh, don’t anyone let me be the leader of a country or I’ll probably impose the death penalty for Yaoi fandom. Yup, the truth is, if I was CEO of Odex, I would just screen Naruto all day long till the population becomes stupid and then I’ll rule over them like a dictator and embezzle state funds until the coffers are dry. Then it’s off to Dubai or something!

But do be serious in our later discussions.

59 Responses to “Discuss: What Would YOU Do if YOU Were the CEO of Odex?”


  • TJ, remember your international readers! This whole Odex fiasco seems to be largely unknown outside of Singapore, so a brief introduction would have been helpful (“Singaporean anime distributor tracks down fansub downloaders, sends letters threatening legal action”).
    After reading up about the issue, here are some thoughts:

    - We’re mostly talking about anime TV series here (OVAs and movies make up a tiny percent of downloads, so let’s set them aside for now). Now, the television distribution model is in fact based on the idea that content is free. You might pay a flat fee for subscribing to a pay channel, or a tax for owning a television, but once you’ve done that, choosing to watch one given show – or one hundred! – out of the spectrum of offer that’s available to you costs exactly zero (under some systems there can be exceptions such as sporting events sold separately, but that does not concern TV series).

    Coupled with the medium’s ubiquitous presence, this zero-cost system is crucial in determining the offer-and-consumption dynamics characteristic of television, which are what make TV series possible.

    Have you ever wondered why there are no “cinema series” (sequels are not quite the same thing), or 20-episode OVA series? When you go to the cinema, you pay the ticket for a movie and expect to see a story with a resolution, and something which has a strong enjoyment value on its own. Would you pay to go to the cinema, if they told you “this 25-minute movie won’t really mean much on its own,but if you pay again next week, and again the next, and so on for half a year, eventually all the episodes will form a coherent whole, and you might enjoy that, if you keep at it”? You can risk seeing a movie that you may or may not like: at worst you’ll have wasted a ticket and an evening. However, very few would be willing to commit to a long series of payments for something whose value (or lack thereof) will only become apparent much later.

    To make the instalment model work, you need to compensate the risk factor and the fragmentation of value, which is chiefly done by lowering the price and increasing value and convenience (eg, it works for manga magazines because they’re cheap and you get a bunch of new episodes; it works for tankoubons because they’re inexpensive, and you get a significant chunk of story collected into a volume; etc.).
    This is exactly what TV did for the audio-visual media: it made the price for instalment low enough (zero), and the experience convenient (the content gets delivered to your home, and you just have to tune in or set up the VCR at the right time).

    In short, anime series exist *because* people can watch them for free. It is their essence, and the key to their economic viability.

    - Of course, they can also be collected on DVDs, which will be bought by fans of the series (a minority of the total audience). But what makes the discs worth buying to these people? The fact that they’ve seen the series (decreases risk, since the content is known) and became fans of it (increases subjective value). Both factors require a previous TV screening (or having seen the series through other means).

    But if discs are for fans who want to own their favorite series, they need to be high quality. That means no VCDs (I was really surprised to hear that they’re still sold in Singapore), but DVDs with high AV quality, attractive packaging (*very* important, since fans are interested in physical objects – see the whole figurine phenomenon), and possibly bonus items (posters, for instance). And naturally, the translations must be flawless.

    Even though I prefer subs myself, I think having a high-quality dub is also important, since one reason for having your favorite series on DVD is being able to show them to other people (who might not be such hardcore fans for anime, and thus not used to following subs).

    - Another issue which cannot be ignored is globalization. We are now used to communicating with anime fans all over the world via the internet, and we want to be able to discuss our favorite series. This is especially true of “advanced” fans, who also happen to be the main market for DVD releases! But to be able to communicate, we need to be on the same page. You can’t expect fans from a given country to wait twelve months to see new releases, by which time everyone else has already seen it and moved on! Of course, I don’t mean that anime series are no longer worth watching after they’re no longer “current” (in fact, I often watch them months after release, since I have limited time and a backlog of stuff to watch). But what’s important is that, if your friend from across the globe tells you “hey, this series that’s airing now is pretty cool”, you be able to check it out. Prosecuting fansubbing would jeopardize communications between fans in different countries, harming the community as a whole.

    This comment is getting much longer than I anticipated, so I’ll close with a few random remarks…

    - As far as I can tell, those letters from Obex were the result of a private investigation. For an ISP to give out information about its customers (the vital IP time -> name mapping) to a random private organization, without a court order, seems unacceptable to me. Perhaps it’s time to review your ISP’s TOS and switch to one that takes less liberties with its customer’s privacy?
    Although, had Obex been unable to gather that date privately, they might have just sued instead of giving people the chance to settle…

    - DVD subtitles are not encoded as character streams, but as 2-bit deep raster images (four indexed colors, one of which represents transparency). So it’s completely possible to use different fonts, although the limited bit depth makes it impossible to reproduce the effects often used in fansubs.

  • If I am the CEO of Odex… there will be two ways

    1, the easy way out, quit ANIME altogether, sell all regional licenses to Taiwanese or Hong Kong Licensees… gather all the cash and start another business.

    or

    2. Spend 1 mil or more on the below items

    Reform the Marketing section to include PR aspects.

    Go to Japan, find 4 very good translators and bring them in under foreign talent. Then go to china and bring in lots Japanese translators preferable with fansubing experiences. split them in to 4 or more production group and start completing the remaining licenses.

    Then Go Japan and look for AVPAS members to buy online broadcasting licenses using split profit system.

    Engage website designers to create easy to use online download system. Or engage people who made MobTV.

    Apply DRM on service, limited to till the show is released on DVD. For each episode downloaded points is given, to exchange for physical DVD Boxsets. So Downloaded episode will be able to be exchanged for DVDs for collection or exchange for another series.

    Then on the Network Side, provide local servers capable of high speed transfer. And lock it to allow only Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia IP addresses only.

    At the same time, put out ads on anime blogger’s site. or even provide anime bloggers with preview before the anime actually aired in japan… (since we are sure to get the episode at least 1 week before the airing)

    Attend or create local anime events yearly with the other big names of the industries like chuangyi, IMMG, and Innoform. Also around the same time, develop local specials like Fan-Dubs?! or joke subs and so on. Since those are consider cheaper alternatives to gifts and such.

    Of cos we must interact with fan clubs and groups and so on. about the local specials, it can be developed with local clubs and groups.

    Of cos all this would lead to the per episode price online to be about $2.5 to $5. You people still want it?

  • Oh one more thing.

    I will as Odex CEO will provide a site to sell DVDs, regardless of any rejection by retailers.

    If the big retailers like TS or BlueMax dun wanna sell my goods too bad then, not like they are selling alot of my products and even taking in my DVDs. But i will still enforce illegal DVDs BAN of my licenses. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • Thanks for the 5parrowhawk interview, it was a really eye-opening read and helped to put some of Odex’s difficulties into perspective.

    What I found interesting was the mention that there was some attempt to ask fans to help in the release of their products. Personally, from the Pretear set I bought from Odex, it seemed to me that the subtitles on some of the episodes could have been lifted from the fansubs, and in light of Dr. Toh’s statement, that would explain the similarities somewhat. However, this doesn’t explain one other thing I noticed – that despite the similarities, the Odex version actually had MORE grammatical mistakes and typos than the fansubs themselves. At the time when I was watching it, it seemed to me almost as if Odex had purposely added in all those mistakes in an attempt to differentiate it from the fansubs, albeit in a rather ridiculous way. Call it a crazy theory on my part, but I really don’t see any other explanation for why a professionally released product would have so many more errors on it. Also, common sense would suggest that ASKING fans to help is different from giving the fans COMPLETE leeway with the final product – surely Odex should have had editors or proofreaders who could have caught such easily notcieable mistakes? All that simply smacks of shoddy work to me.

    That said, I agree with you that it would probably be in Odex’s best interests to use the internet as a marketing medium. If so much emphasis is placed on the fact that Odex lacks the funds put together an adequate marketing campaign, then they should not be able to complain if they use the internet as a marketing tool since really, it doesn’t cost all that much to maintain an informative and up to date website. Even creating a mailing list to inform fans of special offers (like the afore-mentioned dvd bundle which hardly anyone seems to have heard about) would be a cost effective way of disseminating information. Also, the very fact that most anime fans in Singapore download their anime (as implied by the fact that Odex seems to have lost a large portion of their revenue through fansubs), it would suggest that most anime fans in Singapore are internet savvy and are likely to keep up with anime news through mediums such as anime blogs/websites. And word of mouth is definitely a method that’s worked in spreading the news of anime series, as seen from the whole Suzumiya Haruhi boom.

    And most of all, I think the best thing Odex could do would be to sincerely listen to and take into account their customers’ feedback, and have the results show on their finished products, as opposed to making half-hearted attempts to listen to feedback but in the end not changing anything. Consumers aren’t idiots, they can tell when companies are just dong things for the sake of doing it to pacify them, and all it does is to piss off the consumers even further. And unhappy consumers are non-spending consumers. Even if it’s difficult for Odex to suddenly up the quality of their releases immediately, at least taking the first step by showing that they are willing to take feedback into account would help to soften the fans’ emnity towards them somewhat. I’m sure many of us don’t complain about Odex simply for the sake of complaining, and we would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as long as they show they are willing to change.

  • From another perspective, it’s probably worth noting the time when there was no legal law against digital copies. Technically, it was legal in the past to create digital representations / re-representations of such media. So to blame people for being ‘spoilt’ is not necessarily something totally fair to directly attribute. It wasn’t a court’s inherent decision to make these things illegal either — it was for-profit companies & their associations (like RIAA and MPAA) itself who lobbied Congress to institute acts such as the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), which subsequently became adopted by other nations under different mutations.

    Some companies are also known to secretly allow/release ‘bootleg’ copies for works that aren’t famous yet (or haven’t tapped into a certain market yet … eg. like China a few years ago) so that it can spread. But once they hook people on, they institute charges or laws to enforce it. Okay, that’s not exactly sinful itself or anything like that. But at a commonsense level, it’s still perceived as manipulative to many people — and nobody wants to realize they’ve been manipulated by companies. If you don’t succeed in keeping that financial game from being exposed, expect some anger. And if these companies and/or some of their predecessors (as a general entity, of course) have contributed to the piracy cycle in this way in the past, then I think they are at least partly responsible for creating their own black market. The concept of freeware … and the reliance thereof was also partly initiated by self-interested motives.

    By all means sue (since it is NOW their legally-created right), but some people will still raise issue with the historical business ethics of it all. Some are more aware of the past, and some are only partly familiar with it. But either way, don’t expect all people in-the-know to always take kindly to it. There will have to be some form of backlash. There is some responsibility on both sides. Although right now, the businesses are acting as if they are the only poor victims. I’d say, that is partly an illusion in terms of an overarching perspective.

    Obviously, these *digital-loving public* are currently not united enough to ‘stand against’ businesses head-to-head and to ensure they get want they want, since the law isn’t on their side anymore — it started shifting over time ever since 1998′s DMCA Act … and its concept is now more or less firmly grounded in various countries. *Businesses*, on the other hand, are a lot more cohesive within themselves at the moment and are financially-elite enough conglomerate to directly pressurize the political-elite to pass acts and laws that best favor their interests. They can’t seem (or want) to find an entrepreneurial way to provide something fresh (or at least some new form of the same product) that the Internet can’t provide for free, thus getting a law created is their easier alternative (and would employ much less innovation).

    But perhaps the idea of community groups that form on the Internet will one day take off – MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, the Blogosphere, whatever. Someday, it would be interesting to see if a critical mass of a similarly self-interested public can be united enough to fell (or seriously reshuffle) a sizeable company by boycott. —- A bit like how the NKF and Durai were rehauled under public pressure (aided by SPH’s tactics) — Once the cycle really kick-starts, more will happen regularly. If so, that’ll be some new form of social revolution for sure — where the public becomes self-aware of its influence over this, and chooses to exploit it together, and succeed consistently. Maybe only then will such media-publishing/distributing businesses start changing strategies once more — hopefully, to be less aggressive, and more collaborative. At least I hope so … unless maybe I join the RIAA/MPAA itself. :)

  • Wow, this page is on a roll. 5 intelligent and well-thought out comments at once, which is like, as common as flying cows.

    Daryl: I would like to point out that in this context, BT anime sharing has only started being rampant since about 2004 and by then, it was quite well known that it wasn’t exactly legal. So the “spoilt” term does apply. Anyway, if you check out the places with less logical discussion such as Sgcafe, you’ll laugh at the thread, which has people comparing Odex to TT Durai and trying to bring them down via the New Paper. LOL.

  • I’ve always got a soft spot for non-digital activism such as ground events or print media, thus my advocacy of dialogue to deal with the current problem. Since much of the posts concerned themselves with using the internet as a medium, I’m going to attempt to provide the views of one who operates in the scene on ground level rather than the digital plane.

    News can spread very fast on the internet. However with the ever present discontent against them, news tends to get distorted too fast and too wild. The internet seemed just too ready to raise the pitchforks at any moments’ notice without stopping to think, especially in trying times like these. Them having a forum now might end up like the Young PAP forums, not a very useful tool to propagate any messages in the midst of flames.

    While at least a basic up-to-date website is a must, reforms and changes in the amorous relationship between commercial entity and fanbase must come from the ground before they can make their way into the more volatile digital plane. Perhaps it’s Singaporean nature; we tend to be a lot more amiable, understanding and definitely more persuadable up front in person. This would be very useful for ODEX. If they can get up front and personal to show the masses that they are fans just like me and you, prove their sincerity to change, this would earn them a lot of brownie points. To do that, they could either go through a middle man or do it themselves.

    An example of doing it themselves would be to actually organize fan meets or forum sessions in which their spokesmen could listen and explain to the fanbase. These sessions could also be useful to learn which titles they should attempt to license. From their mention of ‘focus groups’ on Straits Times, this had been what they are doing. Judging from the various comments of ‘What focus group?’, they are probably doing it wrong. If that is the strategy they plan to pursue, they would have to get the correct personalities to turn up, people with influence both on ground level and on the digital plane who can act as spokesman to spread the news. Either that or they could do a free for all, but given our kiasee nature, many, especially the whiners would not turn up; so it would make sense to concentrate on courting the influence wielders first.

    Alternatively they could go through a middle man to get the message spreading. Few barely-funded anime clubs would reject a chance to ‘work with the devil’, or so to speak. Though most of their membership consists of fansub downloaders, as a club, they need the industry to survive. If it will earn them a sponsorship of some kind, all the better for the club. Examples of prominent clubs they could work with would be those university anime clubs, STAC or even the Singapore Cosplay Club. These club regularly organize events (the next being Cosfest 07 at Downtown East) that many local fans attend, making them a perfect middle man to get to the fans. Rent a simple booth, get their most charismatic spokesman to actually be present to talk to the fans. Although they had done something similar in the past (EOY 06 comes to mind), they did not provide the manpower to support their efforts, relying on the ground volunteers to do the ground promotion instead. That would only backfire on them, especially if the volunteers are the naysayers.

    How will these compare to using the internet? More expensive, that’s for sure. However, there are certain things that the digital plane can’t do. Freebies for one. Everyone loves a good download sample, but what if they actually provide a sample DVD as a freebie for… who knows? Some arts festival perhaps? Make it look attractive, throw in two episodes of two series and kiasu Singaporeans will be over it. It would be an easy if costly way for the fanbase to judge for themselves ‘quality and translation’. Throw in the ‘limited edition’ tag and charge the buyers might also work. This might even snare some non-anime fans along the way.

    Finally, since ‘I work on ground levels’, I’ve actually contacted ODEX and Mr. Stephen Sing some time in Feb before. During that meeting, I had been told about ODEX’s ‘new way forward’ so I’m going to list down those that I can recall on top of my head. If Stephen is reading this (which he really should), he could probably identify me. Sorry if it’s supposed to be secret or something but it’s a good time to reveal some cards now. I fully intend to continue bugging you and ODEX in the future. It should be interesting to compare what was mentioned in my past meeting, what had been discussed here and what had been done.

    1.That $15 DVD set on the papers? That’s real. No frills DVDs for students through the tertiary clubs. Apparently Singapore Polytechnic was the first to attempt selling it, never knew how that worked out then. Actually, personally, the DVD was not so bad. The price (he told me $19.90) was decent for a no-frills DVD collection. And if one buys the entire anime set in a go, you are supposed to get 2 A2, high quality posters. In the future, these should be sold elsewhere or through road shows. See sneak pic in link below. The normal DVD (with box but no free posters) would still be sold through the various retailers but supposed to be at price of $29.90.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/kckomicer/IMAGE_00002.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/kckomicer/IMAGE_00001.jpg

    2. The current website is under going a revamp. The new site is expected to be up by August. Didn’t expect it to be taken down so soon. That is either a stroke of genius to avoid pissed off, techno savvy hackers or a bloody stupid move. The new site would be more updated and one would be able to purchase ODEX products through it, provided they signed up with ‘Live alliance’, some IPS group and ODEX membership. No fee included.

    3. No more VCDs. They are getting rid of the last few stocks and it should be DVDs all the way already. Yippee.

    Yeah, that’s all I can remember. Someone get ODEX to come over here. Oh, and if what I say here compromise on commercial secrets, please help remove.

  • Oh don’t worry, apparently Odex is reading all these as we speak, along with Darkmirage’s Apocalypse Now post. So everyone who posted sound comments are contributing to the cause. Unlike the cavemen over in the mass forums. Those get read as well, but with accompanying laughter I suppose.

  • Problem 1 – Clearing Stock of VCD
    Problem 2 – Setting up the Faith of Local Products
    Problem 3 – Getting back the customers
    Problem 4 – Make every Body happy
    Problem 5 – Make money

    This are the 5 problems i can spot for the time being.
    It is by this 5 problems (i belive) which will success in taking over the market again. Co-Existance with Fansubs is not that possible for a market as small as Singapore. The only way is either to enforce them or make people give up on getting Fansubs.

  • Sorry, just wondering how sure you are that Odex is actually reading all these?

  • 1000 % sure?

  • Though I wonder how much improvement can they really achieve with our current censorship board?

    It’s good to hear that ODEX appears to be sincere about their reforms (good for them too, if they don’t want to incur more hate and loss of profit). But with those ostriches in the censorship board still living, we’ll never see most of incoming anime in their original intact form.

    Didn’t they say, “If it’s too violent/sensual/etc to US, it”s not allowed”? And in order to sneak these in, ODEX will need to resort to that “Oni-sama” thingy again… and in the process get booed by the fans.

    ODEX is willing to change, that’s good to hear. But until the censorship board itself undergo a renewal/change/purge, there is just so much that they can really do.

  • “Make every Body happy”

    Nice. Just don’t touch mine.

  • It’ll be difficult to get fans to pay to watch animes, esp those who has been leeching off the net. Sure Singapore has decent law enforcement, but to play that trump card will just rub people the wrong way. Unfortunately, it has been played.

    In this period of time, fans around Singapore are bound to be infuriated. Natural reaction. Seriously, why buy animes when:
    - Quality isn’t as great as the fansub groups
    - Having to pay
    - MUCH slower release

    I believe the quality and slow release is the biggest reason to not even fork out a cent. The reasons why fansub groups would function better in this area is simply because:
    - They’re more experienced
    - They’re more dedicated (Often, it’s abt the passion, not the money.)

    Of course Odex, being a company and all, exist and can only exist solely cos they need revenues. If they can at least resolve the quality of their work, as well as speedup on their subbings, it’s only a matter of time before fans really think it through.

    An adoptable idea would be to switch to virtual sales via the net. Such ideas already existed. Take a look at this webby:
    http://www.crunchyroll.com
    All it takes is just modify it in such a way that consumers can make a one-time “purchase” of each episodes. But once they bought it, they can view it anywhere, as long as they have internet connections. This would have reduced all the cost of packaging, excessive opening of retails stores and staffings. Save alot. Main problem with this would be the speed of viewing the animes. No one likes to wait more than 5mins everytime they’re viewing animes from a new connection. So Odex can go into partnership program with the local ISPs (Singnet/Starhub) to provide decent bandwidth for consumers. This shouldn’t be much of a problem in the States since a large populations of Internet users are already on T1 at least. Unfortunately, while this is feasible locally, our bandwidth are never maximized. So blame it on the local ISPs too.

    This is the approx. business plan i could think of. I’m not much of a businessman, but i’m juz thinkin from the mindset of a fan. If you want me to pay, you give me quality stuffs at a reasonable price. Better still, offer lower price for students. Even though a large majority of household owns a computer these days, it doesn’t mean we’re rich. It just means computers are becoming more and more affordable. Some are even using legacy computers, simply because they’re financially hardup and just need them for work or studies. Necessities.

    That’s my rather lengthy two-cents worth on this issue.

  • Juz a small addon. Totally agreed with LaC.

  • I like this kind of topic :) Kind of like giving me a chance to dream IF I own a anime company which most probably would never happen unless Singapore Pools decide that I am the lucky winner of the 10 million toto prize, blah just another dream lol

    Phase 1: Licensing anime distro rights and censorship

    As we all know there are a lot of animes that are being released each year, so come the question of “Which anime to license?”

    1) Check anime blogs, anime forums and also review of fansubs from people who watches it and get some idea of which anime is worth licensing.
    Odex say “Fansubs are illegal”
    I say “Fansubs are illegal but it’s one of the best way to check on the anime that you will want to license in Singapore and getting review from people who watches it help you decide/know which anime is worthy to be licensed in Singapore. ODEX SHOULD NOT TRY TO LICENSE EVERYTHING from jap, since NOT all anime have marketing value.”

    2) Once the anime is choosen, work out deals with the jap studios like allowing Odex to release DVDs of these anime once they are available in japan and also rights to import jap released DVDs to Singapore with a discount that Odex can sell to local anime fans for a profit while Odex continue working on their DVDs.

    3) With 2) above, come the question, “With the rights to importing jap released DVDs how can I sell Odex manufactured DVDs?” To sell Odex’s DVD, Odex need to come up with promotion and special offer. Work with the jap voice actors to obtain some personalised interview and put them to Odex’s DVD and of course agree to pay the voice actors/actresses royalty if these DVDs with their interview sells, alternative refer to “Phase 2: Marketing Odex Product”

    4) After picking the anime I guess the next step is to pass the censorship board that have the impression that anime are for kids, set a higher age level for anime that consist of violance and blood or shown some nude/semi nude characters.

    Phase 2: Marketing Odex Product

    1) Participate in Anime Events like cosfest or other anime related events, become their sponsors, let all the anime fans in Singapore knows of your existance :D
    Odex say “Becoming Sponsor is going to cost money”
    I say “Not really, by becoming sponsor, you can give out free vouchers to anime fans as a form of prize/rewards/appreciation to them that ODEX cares about them, giving free vouchers means anime fan can get ODEX stuff for free and review their product and the improvement ODEX made, beside, if ODEX products are left on the shelf, ODEX might as well give it away for free to some anime fans that cares or want to watch”

    2) Collaboration with other anime related companies. Work with them to come out with package for your products. Some examples like:
    a) Package your DVDs with limited edition of anime figurines/model/Postcard, etc….

    b) Package free sample VCD to let manga fans see the animated version of the manga that manga shops are selling. Example, when manga fans bought the 1st manga book of Naruto/Bleach/Death Note, etc…, let them review a VCD version of the first three eps of that anime. Sort of a promotion to let them know that you have an animated version of that manga :)

    Odex say “How can I profit from this?”
    I say “It will help promote your products to fans who are more interested in figuries/manga compared to Odex’s DVDs or the low quality VCDs”

    c) Package with Game. As we know some animes come from games and not manga. Same theory applies as b).

    d) Package with Singles(anime opening/ending song) released. Same theory applies as b).

    3) Come up with a website that is updated AT LEAST weekly. Basically Odex don’t need a very well design website but they need a website that provides information to all it’s consumers some promotions/events that is on going and also include some upcoming releases on their animes.

    4) Organise anime events and remember to advertise it on anime forums/blogs and Odex website.
    a) Arrange for jap voice actor/actress to come to Singapore and help promote the release of new anime product?

    b) Arrange for jap voice actor/actress to come to Singapore to hold some mini-concert? (Can work with some companies that sell anime singles on this one)

    c) Arrange an anime singing competition or a voice dubbing competition? (Can work with events like cosfest or some other anime events)

    5) Hold a pre-release sneak preview to anime bloggers and anime forum administrator. Get these people to view the anime and ask these people to help blog and advertise about the product (Hopefully on the good side of the product) in their blogs and forums.

    Phase 3: Improving the Odex Product

    1) Make sure Customers feedback are deal with and also some ways Customers can send their feedback regarding the quality of your products. Either an email feedback or a forum that allows Customers to post their feedbacks/concerns. Make sure a reply is sent to let the customer know their feedback is being processed or heard. A generalised reply like “Thanks for your feedback, your feedback is important to us. We will look into the matter that you have raised in your feedback” to let the customers know Odex are looking into their matter of concerns.

    2) Based on customers feedback, review and check if their feedback/comments have any basis to it and revise on the product.

    3) Employ good part time jap to eng translator to QC the product to look out for typo/wording interpretation error.
    Odex say “How to find these part timers?”
    I say “Once Odex build up the marketing for their product, I am sure they will be able to find some anime watchers whom have a good command in jap and eng language, so hire these ppl to help out during weekend to QC their product. These people get to watch anime Odex is producing in DVD/VCD for free while getting paid for it which I am sure these ppl won’t mind doing that”

    Phase 4: Prevent, warn and catch illegal downloaders

    With enough marketing and good enough quality on the product next step will be to curb people who violate the licensing right to Odex.

    1) To prevent people from infringing the licenses that Odex own, list out all the animes that are licensed by Odex on Odex’s website with possible release date to these anime upon licensing.

    2) I think the current Odex already knows how to catch these people, so I will go into how but the procedure.
    a) Those first time offender, get their ISP to send them a warning letter.

    b) Second time offender, sent them a legal letter and warn them to stop.

    c) If caught a third time, legal action against them for their infrigement, using details of their illegal download activity in a), b) and c) with logs and possible raid with the police on the offender’s home for more evidence against these repeating offenders.

  • Greetings to all from ODEX PTE LTD.

    I am Peter and am posting this message because someone is imposing as a representative of ODEX, by using the name “ODEX”.

    TJ Han, Dark Mirage and LianYL have met me and will know me.

    TJ Han, may I please appeal to you to consider blocking the sender “ODEX” as his statements or remarks, however personal, may be misconstrued to be that of ODEX PTE LTD?

    Kindly be informed that I have not authorised any person to represent ODEX or to post any comments in any website as an ODEX representative.

    We are reading the comments in the blogs and forums, but we have to be silent because it is not time to speak. There are many misunderstanding and false allegations made against ODEX which we seek to clear up when there is a suitable time and place.

    In the meantime, I thank those who contribute valuable and constructive comments.

  • Many thanks to those who have contributed great ideas.

    Peter: That’s an impersonator obviously. I will delete his comment.

  • “That being said, the pressing issue at the moment would be how the community moves on from here. Will we try to drag Odex down with us (they clamp us down, we boycott them, no one wins), or will we try to engage them instead. Talk and speculation is fine, but don’t you think it’ll be good if we were to try to arrange a session to speak to Odex, and hear from them directly what their take on the issue is, and how they plan to move on from here.”

    This, in my opinion, sums up the entire situation. But it fails to note that the situation could very much change. For example, the means of downloading could shift, from BT to Share or otherwise, XDCCs, DDLs, FTPS, etc etc . Odex could also change the situation.

    Personally, I feel that tj_han, you are making some questionable assumptions. One assumption you are making is that the “casual fan” does not have much sense of definition. For example, as I have argued before, the quality of fansubs made from TV rips and those of DVD quality are totally different. I noticed that ODEX PTE LTD had targeted a downloader of the DB Bleach episodes. I noticed this downloader seemed to be quite the “casual fan”, not watching thinsThis is highly flawed, I believe. As stated here:

    http://forums.tertiaryessayist.com/index.php?topic=195.0

    Tv rips are of a much worse quality when compared to DVDs. There is no reason why someone already with an interest in buying Bleach DVDs would lose this desire for these DVDs by watching a TV rip. If you fullscreen the DB release on an average fifteen or seventeen inch monitor, you can easily see the bad quality. On the other hand you usually don’t see such flaws in quality on DVDs. I wouldn’t know how good the quality of the local Bleach DVDs are because I have never bought or watched them but I assume they have some standard. If the Casual Bleach Fan would have no interest in the DVDs to begin with, then whose fault is that? The anime studio, the licensor or subber? None right? It is merely the way it is, and there is no good that would come out of trying to attack anyone over it.

    Let’s be practical. No one wants to lose the better of the two available options there are. As project_00 quite rightly puts it: “I’ve never seen Odex-distributed anime before, so I can’t really make a comment. But fansubs are fast, good and free. What advantages does Odex have?”.

    I had a hard time thinking of an answer to that question.

    Apply this sentiment to all fans of anime that became part of this community this year , most likely through and it isn’t hard to see why fans wouldn’t buy the ODEX DVDs. If you attribute fans complaining and hating to buy odex DVDs to the fact that they are “spoilt” then what does that leave anyone who has a better alternative but doesn’t choose it to be? A fool, surely. Apply some of your economics reasoning: If the consumer is forced to pay more for a poorer quality product, who is the one that suffers? Society would surely incur a dead weight loss, yes? Of course you can argue that fansubs are free goods, and hence have nothing to do with economics, but at the same time some economists will tell you there is no free lunch.

    Fansubs are ultimately there because we desire them to be there. There were created out of a human’s wishes. What use is it to attempt to circumvent these wishes? They will simply find another way to exist.

  • continued:

    I will continue to believe that, for fans, given both choices, fansubs will be the better decision. They simply have a large advantage that the entire syndicational or organisational structures involved in firms like Odex cannot replicate: Speed, Dialectical Correction, Free, Flexibility, maybe even better quality.

    Now, given all these, What would I do as the CEO of Odex? Simple: stop having anything to do with anime unless there is an extremely high chance of an inelastic demand for a certain product. If there is such a product, publicise it well and hard sell if you have to.

  • @exaltdragon Wow, thanks for those insightful posts. I mean, thanks for taking 2 comments to point out the fact to us that we prefer fansubs, Odex will now find it hard to carve out, let alone maintain a market, and telling Odex that they’re basically quite screwed. I’m sure that was very helpful indeed.

    @Peter Nice to hear something official from Odex finally though. I’ve been getting really irritated with those purporting to be “reps” of Odex intimidating people, or those instigating unfounded rumours. Hopefully we’ll hear more from Odex from now on.

    @tjhan Let’s forget about anime and go Vietnam again sometime. Hot babes on bikes rawk.

  • @mitsuki: your sarcasm washes over the me like a wave of melted butter; warm and sticky. :D haha

  • That wasn’t sarcasm.

  • @exalt dragon That wasn’t cum, you gay-ass.

    @LianYL Stop posing, dude.

  • @mitsuki: Your imagination is rather powerful….better cut back on those H-doujins

  • The Masked Man

    If I was a CEO of any anime company, my first priority would be to ensure that relations with the fans were prime.

    This meens that I wouln’t be handing out slipshad releases.

    Ergo, Odex need to buck thier ideas up before they go off calling wolf.

    That said, I, a brit, would more than kindly partkae of thier Digimon and YuGiOh wares.

  • I agree to Mr. site owner’s post, but i see odex as a colasping in need of funds to maintain and they are suing our $ out of our pockets.

    Unless they have enough funds to pay fansubs to maintain quality of the subs and double up the release of anime closest to air time of nihon tv people there are watching.

    Regarding the anime quality issue, i guess VCD is out of date definately, seen so much H264 ripped and HD version of releases in animes, they should be able to get proper quality into dvd if they spend enough effort in it.

    Stop making excuss for the lack of funds you have to maintain your business and close shop if you cant make it to make a stand in the market, if you are good in doing the job, the market will pay for your stuffs, but make it economical of cos.

  • I’m on the side of exaltdragon. I do believe that quality is what makes fan-subs more favourable. Odex is indeed spiralling downwards if it cannot better or even level up to the quality of the subtitles they stick on the anime. They have to do the professional job of translating it properly and appeal to the fans of those anime.

    Please if you are a member of Odex or someone who know them, PLEASE ask them to do a better job as they are just hurting themselves without knowing it. I come in peace and I don’t wish for Odex to just go down the drain like that. I’d support them if they are putting in more effort into making the anime better and not just calling people to fight in court.

    Better Idea For Odex: Pay Fan-Subbers To Do The Subtitles For You. Talk about riding on the people’s waves of success.

    Aside from that, is melted butter sticky? Cause that DOES sound more like what Mitsuki described it… :P

    And don’t hurl abuses at each other. BE NICE!

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