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: Alex Rusakov 2:5020/1341.17 07 p 98 08:16
: Khachik Ambarian p 11 p 98 00:32
: Re: " p" N.37

Hello Khachik!
Khachik Ambarian -> Alex Rusakov [" p" N.37] Thursday March 05 1998
               p, anime.
               Hp, p y,
               .
py - p. - y - y. p
py G.I.T.S. - y p py, ...
P.S. Alt-G ?
Alex Rusakov ( AKA /Nagumo/ ) [Team R.An.Ma. -- Russian Anime & Manga]

: Boris Ivanov 2:5020/496.90 07 p 98 08:21
: All p 11 p 98 00:32
: py p...

O-hayo, All!
David Ho from RIAP writes about how USA television works and how it contributed
to the "failure" of SAILOR MOON.
Suppose you had the chance to read the visionary writings of the president of a
small but prestigious, innovative groundbreaking animation studio? Certainly,
you ve long known that this little studio he runs, staffed with the richest of
creative talent, has been releasing revolutionary new products into the
marketplace and is constantly developing new ideas which will continue to lead
the industry to the future! Wouldn t you agree that this man is famous and
worshipped by adoring fans all over the globe? Yea, and he is as glorious and
as radiant as a God! Crowds cheer on his arrival!! His disciples hang to their
modems, archiving his every article for posterity! And no matter where he went,
his sterling, holy reputation would precede him and he would need no
introduction...
Let me know if you find such a person! Then I wouldn t have to write this
article anymore!
Hello, my name is David Ho. I am president of RUNNING INK ANIMATION PRODUCTIONS
(RIAP) and along with my partner and Executive VP, Chad Kime, we will be
writing for this monthly column. Our perspective on the animation industry is
unique, I feel, since RIAP was the first to produce anime-style animation here
in the US and we continually develop new anime concepts specifically for
American audiences. Our ties and experience with American television and with
the American anime market has taught us a lot of lessons. Lessons, we believe,
might be interesting to others. We hope you will enjoy reading about our
experiences and opinions.
Its always been amazing to me that an industry with such high visibility could
be so badly misunderstood. Such is the world of American television. Like the
title of this article says, I hope to dispel some myths and explain some of the
mechanisms of American TV as they apply to cartoons.
The magic number: 65
Why is "65" such a magic number in television syndication? What s so special
about "65"? ANIMANIACS had 65 episodes its first year. So did BATMAN. Even
SAILOR MOON was cut up so that it could have 65 episodes in its first run, too.
Why 65? The answer lies in how the American television calendar is divided up
into "seasons." A little math will reveal this television industry secret:
Everyone knows there are 52 weeks in a year. (If you didn t know, just ask
anyone who earns a salary.) So, if there are 4 seasons per year, that means
each season has 13 weeks. If you ve watched weekday mornings or afternoons, you
know that a cartoon is aired Mon through Fri: 5 days a week. So, if you want to
fill a season s worth of programming at 5 days a week, that s 13 x 5 = 65. (!)
There s where the magic number comes from!
What does this mean for anime? As many of you know, there aren t all that many
anime series that last longer than 65 episodes. That means really good shows
like NADIA (39 episodes) or KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD (48 episodes) may never get on
the airwaves here in the US because they don t have enough episodes. That s why
SAILOR MOON was cut in the middle of SAILOR MOON R because they needed to pad
the first year s run to get to 65. (By the way, the practice of taking a long
running series like HAPPY DAYS which used to air once a week in prime time and
repackaging it so it gets played 5 days a week in reruns is called "stripping"
the show.)
Television is an advertising medium, not a content medium.
This always is a rude shock to people with idealistic beliefs. They think that
the best shows (i.e. the one s with thought provoking, intellectual content)
will survive and the bad shows will die off. Unfortunately, this is just not
true! Broadcast television (not cable TV, mind you) is for advertisers, not
you! If you had the money, then TV would be for you, but it s the advertisers
who have the money, so TV revolves around them. This is one of the major
differences between TV and motion pictures. That s why you hear so much
complaining about how much junk there is on TV. The fact that good shows (like
PICKET FENCES or ER) bring in good ratings is a happy coincidence! Otherwise,
why would there be shows like AMERICAN GLADIATORS? Or tabloid TV like CURRENT
AFFAIR? Or drivel like WHEEL OF FORTUNE and ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT? These shows
get renewed year after year! TV doesn t care how they get high ratings, all
they care about is that they get them one way or another! The adage, "You get
what you pay for" is worth bearing in mind when talking about TV.
Neilsens, clearances and time slots
I think everyone knows who Neilsen is. He s a guy who gives out points to
shows. If a show is watched by a lot of people, it gets more points. If a show
is not watched by a lot of people, it gets canceled. Each "point" represents
approximately 1 million households. So, if a show gets a rating of 10 points,
the presumption is that there are about 10 million television sets tuned in to
that show at that time. What you may not know, however, is just how influential
Neilsen is when it comes to what shows stay on the air and what shows get
canned.
Just to get some perspective (since not all of you out there want to spend your
life tracking these numbers, but, sadly, there are people who do!) a really
hot, prime time show, say FRIENDS, typically gets a rating of about 30. An
average show like STAR TREK: VOYAGER gets about a 15. A really terrible show
like COPS gets about a 6. So, now that we have some sort of scale in mind, lets
concentrate on children s television where the cartoon are. It may come as a
shock, but there are no cartoons in the children s line-up that can break a 4
rating. Sadly, the market for cartoons is not the battle to be on top, rather,
its really a fight not to be in last place.
Kinda pathetic, huh? Let s take a look at some of the ratings that some of your
favorite cartoons get. X-MEN probably gets one of the best ratings around at
3.4. POWER RANGERS was also up in this "stratospheric" high at one time too.
Disney afternoon, which consists of shows like DARKWING DUCK and TALE SPIN,
consistently gets a 2.6. So does a lot of Warner Brothers stuff like
ANIMANIACS.
But what does this mean for anime?
Let s look at the track record for SAILOR MOON. Nationally, SAILOR MOON has
been getting a 1.0 rating. Because advertising time is priced by how much
viewership a show brings in, a rating that low usually spells death for the
show because the station can t sell advertising time at a rate high enough to
support the cost of licensing (i.e. "buying") the show. Unfortunately, SAILOR
MOON will not return to broadcast television next year because it can t bring
in higher ratings. (Fortunately, though, TBS has picked it up for the 96 fall
season!) What happened?! One of the most popular anime ever in the world winds
up dead last in America?! This can t make any sense!
This is what leads us to the next topic of clearances.
When I say, "SAILOR MOON has a clearance of 80%", what I mean is: SAILOR MOON
can be seen in 80% of the nation. That means if you re a rabid SAILOR MOON fan
but you live in that 20% of America which doesn t get SAILOR MOON, then you
just plain won t see it. So right off the bat, Sailor Moon is hurt because 1/5
of America can t even accidentally stumble onto it. The solution is simple,
right? Just get the show cleared throughout America! How does a show get
cleared, you may ask? Well, you have asked a mouthful!
Now we have to talk about toy companies and the topic of time slots.
Obviously, some time slots are better than other time slots. For example, 3:00
AM is a horrible time slot unless you re selling Melatonin. For a children s
show, 7:00 AM is one of the best time slots. (You shouldn t need a Ph.D. to
understand the difference between 7:00 AM and 3:00 AM especially if little kids
understand it without even knowing there s a difference!) If you watch SAILOR
MOON currently, you know that in the 80% of America where you can get it, its
usually on at 5:00 AM or 2:30 PM or 10:00 AM. How is anybody supposed to see
SAILOR MOON? Especially kids who are either asleep or in school? (Or in the
case of anime fans, asleep or at work or asleep at work.) The answer to SAILOR
MOON s" woes should be simple, right? Just get it 100% cleared and put it in a
great time slot at 7:00 AM. Well, that would solve SAILOR MOON s ratings
performance, so why hasn t that been done? The reason has its roots in the law
of supply and demand.
If you stop and think about all the good time slots for children s programming,
you ll find that there really aren t a lot of good time slots available. 6:30 -
8:00 weekday mornings and 3:00 - 6:00 weekday afternoons plus Saturday morning.
Everyone with a children s show wants those time slots and right now, there are
more shows than there are time slots. So how does a station decide which shows
get the best time slots? Unfortunately, it all comes down to money and politics
at this point. The politics come in when the station is affiliated with a
network (e.g. FOX). Of course, if the network tells its affiliates, "You will
show this cartoon because its a network cartoon!" Guess what? It gets shown. So
after all the arm twisting is over, the left over time slots go up on the
auction block to the highest bidder.
"Wait a minute, David! Do you mean to say that people have to pay the stations
to show a cartoon? I thought television works the other way around where
stations buy the show and they sell air time to advertisers to make their
money."
Well, that s how its supposed to work, and it certainly works like that in
prime time, but remember, we re working at the bottom of the food chain so the
rules are a bit different. Here s how they do it:
Lots of shows, say POWER RANGERS, have a huge toy company, (e.g. Bandai),
behind them with tons and tons of "influence" (i.e. money). If the toy company
sponsoring the show really believes in it, a dialogue between the toy company
and the TV station will go something like this:
TV Station: OK, so you want me to buy your show and put it on at 7:30 AM. How
well do you think this POWER RANGERS is going to do in the ratings? Frankly, I
think your show is pretty stupid if you ask me...I m thinking of putting on
Bananas in Pajamas instead, now they look funny!
Toy company: We know it ll be a hit! We ve got toys up to the ceiling ready to
be dumped...er, sold in the American market by Christmas.
TV Station: Hey, I ve got reruns of RESCUE 911 on at that time right now, and
its pulling in 2.2 s and 2.3 s.
Toy company: Tell you what...you license this show put it on at 7:30 AM and if
it doesn t pull in at least a 2.2, we ll cover the difference in your lost
advertising money. If you don t like how it does this season, you can go back
to reruns of 911 next season. How s that for a deal?
TV Station: OK. I m a good guy, I ll take a chance on your show. (As long as
the money s all the same, heh, heh, heh...)
And that s how a cartoon gets on the air in America! Interesting system, huh?
The bottom line is that if your show doesn t have strong backing, it won t get
good time slots. Bad time slots lead to poor ratings and poor ratings lead to
reduced clearances. The cycle continues until the show is canceled. That s how
it all trickles down.
But wait a minute! Isn t SAILOR MOON sponsored by Bandai? How come they don t
do the same thing for Sailor Moon like they did with POWER RANGERS? Well,
honestly, I don t know. Maybe Bandai thought that SAILOR MOON didn t need any
help and that it could get off the ground even with 5:00 AM time slots. Maybe
Bandai thought that they were making enough money everywhere else in the world
and they didn t need the American market. Maybe they don t like the dub DIC did
for it and they hope it dies in America! Maybe they want to deny Americans the
great GIFT of anime!!! I don t know!! But in the case of SAILOR MOON, which
wasn t a network show and wasn t supported as strongly by Bandai, you can now
see the results of the system in action. It is all too unfortunate.
The marketplace looks pretty bleak, doesn t it? A place where shows don t seem
to judged by their quality or merit. Where politics and money grubbing seem to
be the rule. How depressing it must be to work in such an industry!
Cheer up! For I ve saved the rays of hope for last!
I still believe that anime is in America s television future. The only reason I
believe this is for the simple fact that a lot of us have grown up with
cartoons, but our cartoons haven t grown up with us and anime fills that void.
Until American animation catches up to the level of sophistication and quality
of anime (which will take several years to do), anime will continue to gain in
awareness, popularity and respect as it serves a specific market need. The
respectability of anime is what will prevent it from disappearing like a fad.
Here s the rest of the story about Sailor Moon which I haven t told you until
now.
How well does SAILOR MOON do in good time slots, you may rightfully ask? Well,
despite all the negative news I ve given you about it so far, Naoko Takeuchi s
phenomenal creation does very very well when its on at a good time slot. In New
York, its airs weekday mornings at around 7:00 AM. For several weeks in 95 it
was getting 3.4 s! In Los Angeles, it airs at around 8:00 AM. For a long time
it was consistently getting 2.8 s and 2.9 s! These are spectacular ratings for
a children s show! and its the #1 cartoon in Canada!
These markets show that SAILOR MOON does have broad (if only urban) appeal. So
there is something very right with SAILOR MOON in that it does have a
cross-cultural appeal and it somehow captures the fancy of the American viewer.
Only if it was getting bad ratings in good time slots would I think there s no
hope for anime here in the US.
And what about all that cynical talk about good shows getting good ratings
being just a happy coincidence? Well, I really meant what I said about
intellectual shows not always getting good ratings. What I neglected to mention
is that shows needn t be judged (in fact, shouldn t be judged) on whether or
not they appeal to the literacy of the viewer. What needs to happen is a
redefinition of the term "good television" to mean something other than
"intelligent television". The real measure of a show s success should be in the
amount of entertainment value it provides. Who can really say exactly what
constitutes "entertainment"? I sure can t! So, if you take a look at all the
highly rated shows, it s true that not all of them are "intelligent" and you
might consider them junk, but one quality is common to all of them: they all
provide a lot of entertainment value. (What each person deems as entertainment
value for themselves, is, of course, an individual matter and another subject
entirely.)
So if we redefine "good television" to mean "television which provides lots of
entertainment value", the bottom line is not cynical anymore! I m not saying,
"Television shows should be made to get the highest ratings," as I implied
earlier, rather, I am saying, "Television shows should be made with lots of
entertainment value." This way, "good" shows get high ratings and that pushes
the overall quality of television up a notch. Anime, because of its maturity
and status as an industry in Japan, provides a lot of entertainment value. This
is the reason for its cross-cultural appeal. This is another reason anime will
just keep growing here.
Conclusion
I hope that by understanding how children s television works it should be clear
that anime is not at fault for failing here in America. In fact, I hope it has
convinced you even more that anime still has a future here! The case study of
SAILOR MOON should show that the actual series itself cannot bear 100% of the
blame for not being popular here in America. At worst, it can only be
responsible for 50% of its success or failure. Any other cartoon (American or
otherwise) would have suffered the same fate if it, too, was released in the
same manner. The industry of television is so broad and wide that its
impossible for me to cover everything in one article. (Most notable of the
topics I ve left out are the mechanics of Saturday morning.) Nonetheless, I
hope I ve cleared up some of the mystery about why you see the stuff you do
when you turn on the TV and expect something good to watch.
--David Ho
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: Maksim Bodrov 2:5020/464 07 p 98 11:14
: Boris Ivanov p 11 p 98 00:32
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Thursday March 05 1998 06:38, Boris Ivanov wrote to Maksim Bodrov:
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... Who not want Amazon!?

: Maksim Bodrov 2:5020/464 07 p 98 11:21
: Paul Kluchnikov p 11 p 98 00:32
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Thursday March 05 1998 22:08, Paul Kluchnikov wrote to Maksim Bodrov:
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... Who not want Amazon!?


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