Something I've been thinking about lately is production costs and how much the one number we have (BD/DVD sales) can add towards it or even cover it. For this example, I thought it would be interesting to take a show that had a very low yen per episode cost on BD/DVD and see how much percentage it would cover of production. I'm sure a few posters on this forum would love this example, so I'm going to use Moretsu Space Pirates
, which is a big outlier in our sales world.
To begin with, I'm going to make a few assumptions. The first one is that Moretsu
is a show with average production costs. In 2010 an average show (as calculated by the Media Development Research Institute Inc.) totaled 11 million yen. To count for the additional costs in the year between 2010, I'm simply going to add 5% to it and sum it to 11,550,000 yen
per episode. Moretsu
ran for 26 episodes, giving a total production cost of 300,300,000 yen
. This includes script, direction, production, and all animation costs. It does not include advertising nor disc manufacturing.
So we have a sum of 300 million yen to make up. How much do disc sales count towards it? The DVD version had 13 volumes and only two ranked at sums of 262 and 291 moved. I'll take the average at 277 sold per DVD (13)
. BDs were more accurate. We have totals of 6,472, 7,206, 7,264, 7,219, 7,175, 6,948, and 7,132. There were differences in prices per volume, so to make life simpler, I made a spreadsheet
Total proceeds for DVD/BDs came out to be 335,632,400 yen
. Though he used USD (idiotically), Justin Sevakis gives the percentage
of net revenue per disc sold at 55%. That gives our revenue for Starchild at 184,597,820 yen
Obviously Starchild isn't the only producer of the show, but that gives 61.5%
of all production costs (disregarding costs for authoring/marketing/manufacturing). At worse, I would assume that would take away maybe 5% of costs, so that's still 56.5% of production that's counted via disc sales alone. This does not include any revenue given via music CDs, merchandise, novel sales, guidebook sales, etc. For a show that had a really low yen per episode count to still earn at least 55% of ALL show production costs is pretty good in my book.
If anyone notes any errors in my analysis, please point them out. I thought this would be an interesting exercise to examine. These are also sales recorded by Oricon, so this is a bare minimum in amount sold and the percentages covered by sales is easily more.
Edit: Draenor brought up a good point on Twitter. I neglected to talk about broadcast fees as they're variable (Pirates
ran on 8 stations) and unknown for the most part. He brought up this translated chart by Momo (of Canned Dogs) which gave 20 million yen (presumably per episode) for timeslots back in 2003.
Said chart refers to prime time timeslots. As noted in this article
a 2 cour show would now run about 50-60million yen. Thanks to bloo for bringing this to my attention.
So let's add 55,000,000 yen
for broadcasts. That would bring total costs to 355,300,000 yen
. With those new costs, Pirates
's disc revenue is down to 52%
recovery of costs by disc sales alone (ignoring authoring/marketing/manufacturing). Still enough to cover half the costs of the show airing on TV. As mentioned below, the production company weren't planning to recoup a lot of costs by these discs (otherwise they wouldn't have put 4 episodes on a BD), so to still cover half your costs by them frees up funding for other things. It's easily a success (and why they're making a movie).