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

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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.

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

  1. 1 Impz 21 comments

    Not exactly the easiest article to reply, but I do have a few quotes that I have mentioned in IRC about the Internet as a medium of advertising.

    [impz] i see it more as a cost-effective form to reach out to the anime fans
    [impz] u put some good advertising on riuva, darkmirage and tsubaki
    [impz] you never know.

    That’s it.

  2. 2 seorang 1 comment

    Yes and no. Its not just about the market environment. Fear can kill the downloaders, but it may not necessarily make them buy the DVDs/VCDs. Its also about the company’s business model, which from what I can see, sucks.

    Time will tell if trying to control the environment will allow the survival of the current business model. Even if ODEX falls, another will take its place. Lets hope ODEX or its successor takes note of the consequences of its current actions.

  3. 3 Crest 87 comments

    Push and Pull approach.

    Under contractual limitations, improve the quality of the DVD and benchmark against other common denominators such as fansubs and such.

    Build up groundswell support, open retail stores at nodes where the community reside and bypassing the middleman.

    Vertical expansion where Odex will go into similiar sub-industries such as figurines and soundtracks.

    The internet to be the best stepping medium where possible dialogues can be conducted via blogs and FAQs, garnering support from well known clusters of communications such as magazines, blogs, IRC channels and such.

    Stop bootleg copies of their series at a commercial level.

    Essentially, goods differentiation and using means like the internet to gather support.

    An open question like this will only brook all kinds of answers where none can be correct but here’s what I can think up of

  4. 4 Crest 87 comments

    Correction:

    It’s actually horizontal integration and not vertical expansion for we are going into different markets. Thanks to tj_han for pointing this out.

  5. 5 Elydis 31 comments

    There is always 2 sides to everything, for anime fans like us, we want the latest animes as well as the fastest means of getting it. As for odex, they are a company and running a buisness. Of course they want to take measures to ensure they have the best possible sales results. However i think for odex to hand out invitations to a court of law like santa gives out presents to ‘nice’ kids is going about the wrong way. My fren made a wonderful suggestion which i think would be the best compromise on both sides. “Allow people to continue to download but it is required for the downloaders to purchase a consumer license” This still allows us to continue to download and odex is able to earn a fee.

  6. 6 elbat 1 comment

    I imagine the CEO will probably just play golf and let the management run the business. After all, that’s what I am paying them for, right?

  7. 7 Seth 70 comments

    THEY SELL VCDS??!

  8. 8 JunL 2 comments

    I think that Odex needs more advertisements or such to promote their products and better quality. To tell the truth, I come to know by Odex only after DarkMirage’s blog on it, beforehand, I don’t even know that Odex existed. Mainly, I think that like what you said, a better updated site and maybe a forum for local anime fan to browse around is always a good thing. I really thinks that Odex needs more advertisements, if i’m the one who got caught AND doesn’t know about anime bloggers, i might think that the letter is a joke and just chuck it aside.

  9. 9 tiny Red Man 89 comments

    i feel like a kid shouting his unhappiness after reading ur post..i tink its time i view it from adult pov.

  10. 10 Kurogane 98 comments

    What would I do if I were the CEO of ODEX? Round you, impz, bj0rn and DM up first, XD.

    Nah, kidding. This is still the age of the Digital Divide. Those adults will never fully utilize the power of the internet as a medium. In another 10 or 20 years, there won’t be physical media anymore and everyone will be buying shows online with their 10Gbps Internet II lines.

    For me now, I’m content with staying in a country where IP issues aren’t a big concern yet. Good luck to my neighbours down under :).

  11. 11 sentinel011 33 comments

    Your idea of coming up with direct download servers to serve anime to customers is one that have already been proposed to the company, but I have no idea if that idea was taken up by them. I personally think that way it’s easier to distribute to their customers that way, and is not limited to only sales in Singapore. It’ll be easier to distribute newer anime, and serving freshly worked episodes of that anime like how fansubs do.

    But of course, many people would compare the quality of the company with fansubs, since they’re paying cash for it, they’ll ultimately want the quality of the subs from commercial companies to be far superior than that of fansubs. But as far as translations of the script goes, there’s only so much one can translate since the exact meaning of the language is hard to relay via the English language.

    This hunt won’t last for long as compared to the digital music law saga a few years back all over the world.

  12. 12 Mitsuki_Hayase 175 comments

    I think it would be prudent to keep in mind the fact that the anime is still considered to be a niche market, despite the claims otherwise by Odex. If you were to ask just anyone on the street if they’ve heard of titles like Pani Poni, Air, or Ghost in the Shell, the reaction one would most likely receive would be a blank stare. What they would know, would be the very popular ones like Death Note (now), Bleach, Naruto, and perhaps HnC (airing on Animax if I’m not wrong). In fact, a casual observation of the anime section at most video stores would also prove the mentioned point.

    @tjhan “Timely download service, drm free…” Doesn’t that sound almost similar to what we’re doing, except that its fansubs and using bittorrent instead? I support Elydis’ idea of getting us to pay a monthly subscription fee (not so unlike SCV) to download unlimited fansubbed anime. Odex earns something, does not need to maintain servers, does not need to hire extra translators (should they decide to go big-time and sub like 20 titles per week), and gains extra clout to clamp down on distros and those who are just plainly cheapskate. On the other hand, while we’re left poorer every month, we are however now able to get our weekly fix of anime from the usual sources legally, retain access to the breadth of anime available on the net etc etc.. Stumbling block would be the cost of obtaining such licenses from the Jap animation studios themselves.

    @Kurogane I think its more of a generational gap rather than a digital one. It just so happens that the gap happens to be digital. Of course, the reluctance for Odex, a media company (and a monopoly at that) being so resistant to change is definitely surprising and quite hard to understand. Perhaps there are other forces at work, or they’ve just been sitting on their laurels, hoping that their monopoly will continue to bring in the case for them.

    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.

    The funny thing is that, by receivin the letter from them, you are actually guaranteed an appointment with them to discuss issues, albeit at a individual level. Or maybe, just maybe, tjhan could try to fix up a discussion group with Odex, then interested (disgruntled) people can sign up to participate in the discussion group.

    Lastly, what intrigues me most would be that of BlueMax. BlueMax holds the licensing rights to a few titles if I’m not wrong, and if they are indeed so ambivalent about anime downloads affecting their sales of the dvd, then that actually speaks volumes on the validity of the fact that sales at Odex is badly hit by anime downloading. And I also forgot, where is IPOS in this whole debacle? Seems to be totally missing from the scene too.

  13. 13 The J Man 2 comments

    @Mitsuki_Hayase
    I don’t think they want to bring in people to have a coffee and a nice chat about the future of Odex, more like threatening the poor fellow with various means of burning in hell and getting sued broke, so that he’ll be forced to buy the ODEX VCDS of the anime he had pirated and lug home a few hundred VCDs on the bus.

    While I’m in no way an expert in this field, I think the fact that they cracked down on 17 people and publicised the whole issue seems to indicate an inability to maintain and fully work out legal action against everyone who downloads.. which i believe would be a figure in … big thousands. therefore the bottomline is we could play russian roulette and continue downloading while hoping we don’t get hit.. which would effectively kill ODEX in the long run.

  14. 14 JS 81 comments

    I applaud you, I’m getting kinda sick of the ranting I see everywhere.

    Nothing left from me to say, the previous posts have covered them already.

  15. 15 komiker 2 comments

    *clap, clap, clap* Finally a voice of reason beyond all the whining the whole fiasco had degenerated into.

    I’ll have to agree with Mitsuki_Hayase. Dialogue is the best way forward from now on. Fansubs are just as illegal as mp3 and bootleg toys; sucks but they had the law on their side. They got the all right to sue us for downloading. Stop acting like footballers crying foul because they got booked for diving.

    Boycotting them would only make the situation worse if it is not bad enough. More incentives for them to sue to recoup loss and our local anime market/industry would just continue to stagnant and be a laughing stock. We don’t get ‘the good stuff’ because our local market just isn’t good enough to attract more. A good market needs good players (so ODEX, please buck up), it needs the fansubs for promotion/awareness but it also needs the support of the local fanbase. “Perception problems” indeed because right now, no one sees eye to eye. Everyone is just throwing stones at each other without coming to a resolution. This zero-sum game had to stop or it would just be one uproar after another. This is not the first time the local community had an uproar but we should make it the last.

    After this ‘Great Purge’, we need to seat every player down for a good, civilized debate. Bring your evidence and be prepared to judge them by their evidences. Then hammer out an agreement out with each other that will benefit all sides. A growing industry is just as good for us as it would be good for them. If you hate ODEX so much, a growing industry can attract new, more creative and versatile companies into it. Why not? If nothing comes out of this, the more ammo to fire at them for not listening to the fans, especially if the fans are in front of them!

    For now, it’s civil war and which side are you on? For me, I’m with reason.

  16. 16 Cobalt Paladin 1 comment

    There are many things that can be done.

    First and foremost, give up VCD format already. We are anime fans. We watched anime because of the beautiful art (story included). No wonder some fans perceive that anime released by odex is of low quality because only VCDs formats are available. The poor quality perception was self-inflicted.

    Second, improve the odex website. The original website was so hard to navigate. I can hardly find any information on the DVDs that are being sold. The catalogue does not seem to be updated. There are no current news. There does not seem to be a place where I can sign-up for fan mail or keep updated of new releases. Where is the promotion and marketing? Even Hollywood blockbuster movies of well-known characters like spider-man need marketing!

    So stop blaming the fans for not supporting local firm when not enough has been done in the areas of promotion and marketing.

    Seems like odex is re-designing their website. If they are, they should include a popularity chart of the current anime. So that we fans know what to look out for. A popularity chart should pique our interests. If there are no news, how the heck do we make informed decision on what to spend?

    Even though odex is relaunching their website, they didn’t even include an input box to collect emails of interested subscribers to keep them informed of their launch when it is finally completed. Where did they even try to engage their customers and fans?

    I was an early anime fan. I was brought up on the Macross and Gundam era. So what happened when I supported odex by buying Gundam Seed Destiny DVDs? I end up not being able to complete the collection! I only managed to buy vol 1 and 2. Where are vol 3 and 4? I’m sorry if it has been released finally, I’ve waited so long that I’ve given up looking for them.

    If it still has not been released, how do you expect us, the fans, to be confident in supporting odex?

  17. 17 tj_han 921 comments

    Mitsuki: The proper term is a digital divide, not a generational one. After all there are old dudes who are extremely open about using the internet as a commercial driving force.

    Cobalt: Very true. But then again, I really wonder if there are enough of us who feel this way, to sustain one company’s income. It’s a fact that there are still many stuck in the age of VCD (shocking!) and what we, a niche group think, may not be an accurate reflector of the actual consumer market. We’ll need more market research, which Odex doesn’t seem to be doing.

    Jman: Hey it’s you. Anyway as far as we know, it’s not a plan to sue for money but rather, Odex seems to be looking at each case individually and almost all got off with little more than a talking to.

    Mitsuki: Anime is so niche that if you talk about anime in real society, you are fucking nerdy. In my class, nobody has heard of Naruto. Beat that.

  18. 18 Chicken 59 comments

    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.

    cool

  19. 19 Mitsuki_Hayase 175 comments

    @tjhan I think its generation gap, because those who ARE into such stuffs are the minority, just like how there is this niggly minority of same-aged people who reject the Internet till this day. But, Odex is right, its a perception problem. Heh.

    @tjhan Eh dude, my friend from Pakistan knows about Naruto and Kurosaki’s butcher knife. Your classmates came from the Amazon or what huh?

    @The J Man Well, I am trying to be positive here though. :) And if they really wanted to coerce you, I guess coffee’s not really the right way. Issuing you a court summons straight off would make most of my friends wet their pants (not me, I wear pampers lol!) While Odex might seem to be portrayed as THE BIG BAD MONSTER, I’m quite sure that as THE BIG BAD (profit-maximising) MONSTER, they wouldn’t want to alientate their main source of income (us) right? That’s akin to killing the goose for the golden egg.

    Sounds like some chicken and egg issue to me. Which came first, the egg (advent of internet), or the chicken (Odex)? Honestly speaking, I don’t know, but all I know is, without eggs, there’d be no chicken; and without chickens, there’d be no eggs (maybe not so much, in this case).

    I’m uttering rubbish, and liking it, lol.

  20. 20 vanity 9 comments

    I like your stand on the issue. I mostly passed the debate by, but for years my answer to curious friends has been: it’s kind of a flat rate. I give them all the money I have, and if there’s stuff left that I want I just take it.

  21. 21 Ben 1 comment

    Hello, first time commenter here

    I agree mostly with tjhan’s post. I feel it had to be done, to get rid of the anime is free mentality. But its where to from here right?

    Most people request for some sort of online way of getting their animes, but I think Mr Toh mentioned that costs were an issue?

    Back to square 1. Start small again? First, find out what are the most popular animes in Japan and US. Sell these animes at places where people gather to look for anime merchandise, maybe, Sunshine Plaza? A centralised location so you don’t have to bother transporting wares all over SG. Slowly animebloggers return to what they do, blogging about anime episodes and helping with the publicity of those animes. See this: http://www.informationarbitrage.com/2007/05/marketingpush_v.html Its about advertising through word of mouth. Since hardcore anime lovers do not want the anime scene here to die, then we could help advertise for them in community forums like, I dunno, sgcafe?

    Of course quality must be there, so I guess they should do small quantities. Maybe if animebloggers know some fansub groups personally, you can refer them to ODEX so they can be hired to provide quality subs and encoding? As for the DVD to VCD issue, just start a poll. I think DVDs will win though.

    All this is of course waiting for ODEX to start realising that its time to start anew and to make it work. I think there’s no point complaining anymore. Just move on from here, and maybe this issue will be recognised as a turnaround for good.

    Maybe you guys could start a talk with ODEX, starting with a friendly post. Just show that we’re willing to support them. Since Sparrowhawk has already shown that it is possible, we could continue on this road. Just show that we’re willing to help. If ODEX still screws up later, then of course, maybe we should begin our own company or something. Maybe one that imports DVDs from US.

    I am not from ODEX or AVPAS, just another anime fan. I’m not familiar with the anime scene, but what’s here is just what I know. Just trying to help.

  22. 22 Model_X 20 comments

    Thumbs up for a great discussion article.
    Odex could consider becoming a importer/distributor of R1 anime DVDs instead. I believe that it would definitely appeal to the niche market. One of the reasons why Odex’s VCDs aren’t selling too well is due to a perceived notion that their VCDs are of sub-par quality or comparable to fansubs. As tj_han puts it, everyone loves free stuff (esp Singaporeans), who the hell would want to pay for it. Not to mention that you ain’t getting your money’s worth.

    Changing into a distributor would also cut down staff cost (No longer a need for translators,encoders and quality control). Japanese studio requirements such as intentional bad packaging would also be solved. (We’re basically just getting the same stuff as the Americans.) Singapore has a tiny population which hinders economies of scale. (Odex can always just import a smaller batch for newer releases in order to test the market response - the key is good inventory management.)

    (…perhaps some feedback might be nice? Can’t put my thoughts into words currently…)

  23. 23 Fafnir 2 comments

    I’m not as wise as the rest of you, but will attempt to contribute some thoughts.

    It is true that dialogue is the best way to solve this sorry shit. However, it’s also true that both sides have to be open-minded enough to at least receive the “other side’s” opinions and be ready to make compromises. I’m sure enlightened fans like most who has posted here would be ready for the bargaining table, but I must ask, will ODEX be just as ready?

    It has been many years since the establishment of their company, and 7 since their animation section was established. But as many (myself included) can attest, the quality of their products has not been improved noticeably. We have been offering our views, rants and suggestions over the animeblogosphere and I seriously doubt they don’t know we exist.

    So what’s with the delay? Why hasn’t their quality improved? Where are the DVDs? Surely in this age of digital media, they don’t really think that they can stick to VCDs forever? How long do we have to wait before the main local anime distributor can offer us something that actually justifies the price they are asking for?

    I’m sorry to say that I am tremendously cynical about ODEX’s readiness to listen to, what may seem to them, a pack of self-important nerds that don’t know how business is run. Indeed, we can’t tell them how to run their company. What we can tell them is how they can improve and actually earn a profit, instead of resorting to high-handed scare methods to silence us off.

    But I give them the benefit of doubt. Perhaps they (AVPAS, it seems painfully obvious that it is but a front for ODEX’s enforcement crew) are just acting on orders from a higher authority (like the IPOS). And of course, it would help greatly if the fossiles at the censorship board suddenly die en masse. Stop the frenzied snipping!

  24. 24 DrmChsr0 157 comments

    tj: I already said mine.

    But I’ll say it again.

    First off, I’d apologize to everyone.

  25. 25 ekard 1 comment

    I salute you tj, this is probably one of the more mature posts around. Too much ranting has been occuring.

  26. 26 Zebra 4 comments

    Well, if i were the CEO, then the first thing i will do would be to fix and update the odex website. Then i’ll change the font used for subtitles and employ a more professional translator that doesn’t translate Oni-sama into master.

    Btw Tj han, are you taking econs? your post sounded like my econs teacher’s lecture

  27. 27 Derf 1 comment

    Odex has a very professional staff (well I think the voice actors are)…

    Though as business people, they might have a mentality that’s too fixed. The last time I heard from my friend about the issue of hiring a voice actor, they made a decision according to schema (i.e. No, we can’t do that. Period.) instead of trying it out and relying on experience.

    In my opinion, they must and will be very open to negotiations and ideas from the anime community in Singapore. To me, that is a great step towards buying freely available quality translated/dubbed anime locally.

  28. 28 tj_han 921 comments

    Zerbra: If you’re talking about DVD fonts, I don’t see how fonts can be changed lol. Fansubs use stuff far more versatile. No I don’t take econs. But I did economics in JC.

    Btw, for all the people harping on the Onisama and Master thing, it has been stated quite clearly that that was the fault of the local censorship board.

    In case you guys don’t know, the new rules pertaining to censorship is pretty much all or nothing. In other words you can’t cut scenes out, the only alternative is not bringing it in entirely. And no incest or homosexual undertones are allowed in anime, since it’s considered kids stuff. The Shana twincest scenes were thus given the “wrong sub” treatment as a means of avoiding the censorship board, and it was intentional. The alternative was no Shana.

  29. 29 double 41 comments

    Hmm,so if Odex wasn’t based in Singapore,the DVDs might be better? Probably the reason for no one wanting to buy Odex,or even locally produced DVDs is due to the censorship in Singapore. So,the bottomline would be that its the censorship board’s fault.

  30. 30 tj_han 921 comments

    I wouldn’t absolve Odex entirely from blame, but the censorship board is by far a bigger obstacle to Singapore being “creative” and an “arts hub”.

  31. 31 LaC 2 comments

    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.

  32. 32 HenderSon 8 comments

    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?

  33. 33 HenderSon 8 comments

    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!!!!

  34. 34 modorenai 2 comments

    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.

  35. 35 Daryl 1 comment

    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. :)

  36. 36 tj_han 921 comments

    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.

  37. 37 komiker 2 comments

    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.

  38. 38 tj_han 921 comments

    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.

  39. 39 Somatic 31 comments

    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.

  40. 40 ekard 1 comment

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

  41. 41 gah 1 comment

    ???

  42. 42 tj_han 921 comments

    1000 % sure?

  43. 43 Fafnir 2 comments

    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.

  44. 44 LianYL 472 comments

    “Make every Body happy”

    Nice. Just don’t touch mine.

  45. 45 egotist 4 comments

    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.

  46. 46 egotist 4 comments

    Juz a small addon. Totally agreed with LaC.

  47. 47 JungleJim 3 comments

    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.

  48. 48 Peter 1 comment

    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.

  49. 49 tj_han 921 comments

    Many thanks to those who have contributed great ideas.

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

  50. 50 exalt dragon 125 comments

    “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.

  51. 51 exalt dragon 125 comments

    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.

  52. 52 Mitsuki_Hayase 175 comments

    @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.

  53. 53 exalt dragon 125 comments

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

  54. 54 LianYL 472 comments

    That wasn’t sarcasm.

  55. 55 Mitsuki_Hayase 175 comments

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

    @LianYL Stop posing, dude.

  56. 56 exalt dragon 125 comments

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

  57. 57 The Masked Man 1 comment

    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.

  58. 58 sum1 1 comment

    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.

  59. 59 Someguy 1 comment

    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!

Do not use any < and > for your own sake. It will end the comment there and then. Also, there is an automatic IQ filter which weeds out comments made by those who accidentally got transported from the stone age.

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