“YouTube is Comiket” – Kadokawa Embraces MADs


Major anime and manga publisher Kadokawa claims revenues of 10 million yen monthly from YouTube advertising revenue sharing on its YouTube-based Kadokawa Anime Channel, both from episode and MAD viewing, and reports 50 million views from September to November of 2008; they now promise to recognise fan-made videos they like, and naturally to receive their due.

This is, they would have us believe, proof that a new business model based on online distribution and liberal usage rights is commercially viable.

Much of this success is said to be due to the effect of Haruhi, Lucky Star, and Strike Witches.

All this stems from the October introduction of “InVideo Ads”, allowing Kadokawa some revenue sharing opportunity. Videos directly or indirectly derived from their properties are apparently all included in this arrangement, resulting in the 10 million yen figure.

Putting this in perspective, although 10 million is a start, this is more akin to what a single station would pay for limited broadcast rights, and Kadokawa is currently projected to lose over 2 billion yen in the 2008 fiscal year…

Clearly, there is a long way to go before this becomes a significant revenue source.

Via AnimeAnime.

There are however some very much open questions about all this.

Though it may say “YouTube is Comiket”, it looks as if Kadokawa has a far less liberal attitude towards MADs than the typical attitude towards doujinshi; their CEO had this to say last year: “We’re going ahead and recognising derivative works which are respectful towards the original, excluding those MADs which the author doesn’t like. The keyword is “love” – if the work has respect towards the original, we’ll recognise it”.

This of course leaves open some very wide scope for something akin to censorship – especially on the likes of YouTube, where anything vaguely controversial, risqué or merely widely disliked tends to find itself rapidly deleted. To say nothing of the fact that the vibrant doujinshi culture arisen around so many properties owes much to the inability of creators to object to what in many cases must be disquieting usage of their works.

The other issue we hear nothing about is the interaction between the various video sharing services. There are a variety of complex issues here; for example, the vast majority of MADs on YouTube actually originate on NicoNico Douga and are freely imported to YouTube – in fact there are now a great many cases where MADs originating on Nico are vigororously deleted at the request of the rights holder, only to be allowed on YouTube – it’s not clear just which companies have deals here, but it looks as if many do not, or at least are quiet about them if they do.

Additionally, there are a wide variety of also-ran video sharing sites which completely ignore/are ignored by the rights holders, many happily allowing full episodes and similar. How they will fit in, given their major advantage tends to be this copyright radar evasion, is not clear.

Such doubts aside, it looks as if Kadokawa is attempting, rather belatedly it has to be said, to adapt to the new video oriented culture arising on such sites, and perhaps more significantly is opening up an alternative distribution channel to traditional TV stations…

With both MADs being embraced, and a new “broadcast” medium opening, could we be witnessing the birth of a new anime market, predicated on online distribution and DVD sales?

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  • Anonymous says:

    Almost all of the videos I’ve favorited on youtube have been MADs and AMVs and almost all of them have been deleted. Most of them were really good and the creators must have put in a lot of effort so it’s very unfortunate that these videos are always getting deleted for copyright violation. It’s been happening so often now that I don’t even bother removing those videos from my favorites anymore.

  • I have quite a few videos “endorsed” by Kadokawa on my youtube channel (same name as the nick here).

    I’m part of those who bring videos from nico over to youtube and I wholeheartedly agree with their direction of videos showing the “love” of the original which is what I also adhere to.

    This whole revenue thing doesn’t interest me, cause firstly, it’s a long way to go. Secondly, I’m not the author and for sure, I don’t have the right to get it. But if I do receive a few cents for all these, I’ll be (can’t think of a good word for it).

  • It just seems like they’re happy that they get the profits in this case (well, duh). I don’t think MADs make any money for those who make the MADs. They also are able to gain some control over what MADs are available on YouTube.

    Doujinshi, on the other hand, only makes money directly for the doujinshi manga-ka. There is the additional profit for the companies made by the doujinshi creating more interest in the source material, but that’s harder to prove and put on spreadsheets for investors.

    And I’m sure some companies don’t always like what some of their characters do (or who they do) in doujinshi. 🙂

  • One of my favorite videos got deleted on youtube.I mean those were just parts of anime that have been made differently mostly for fun like on nico and some are nico vids and they get deleted due to copyrights??

  • I’m actually all for banning episodes from youtube and alike, streaming video is retarded because it butchers the quality of both video and audio.
    The MAD banning I never understood though, it’s free advertising of their products for all they should care, be it a parody work or not.

  • I’m glad to see Kadokawa heading in the right direction- MADs are nothing but fans expression of love and practically fucking advertising, deleting them would be utmost foolishness. Damn, I love where the industry and the internet have been going together lately!