Anime News Network has an article about Viz Media having to restructure and layoff some employees in this difficult economy. In the comments to that story, of course, someone has to drag out the dead horse of piracy. Every economic problem that a manga or anime company has is not always related back to piracy. Can we get over this please?
This is a tough economy right now, and things aren’t going to be getting any better any time soon. Don’t fool yourself. If Google, the giant of the online world has to lay off people, then you know this is a widespread problem. And Viz, despite it’s hugely popular properties is not immune to it. In fact, it may be hit harder than other companies.
Look at Viz’s releases and schedule. They are about the only company that has several titles that come out every other month. When money gets tight, you start looking for places to cut corners, and let’s be honest, manga is a luxury item. If you have to cut down your manga order, you’re going to go for the titles you like most, and that’s not always going to fall in Viz’s favor.
This economy will weed out the men from the boys, both in companies and in titles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the “C-listers” start to get longer releases times, if not disappear completely. Viz night not be able to afford Saint Seiya or Detective Conan, since Naruto and Bleach will have to cover themselves more.
Piracy and/or scanalations are not the cause of Viz’s problems here. It’s people (me included), having to make choices about what they can continue to afford to buy, and what they truly want to keep reading. Titles that people bought just for fun aren’t going to be making it onto ordering/shopping lists. It’s just going to be those that they absolutely, positively have to have. And it might be surprising to see that alot of Viz titles don’t always make it on the have to list.
Sometimes a rose is just a rose, and a drop in sales is a drop in sales, and not because of piracy.