Viz Media Cuts 40% Staff, Go Comi Disappears -

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Viz Media Cuts 40% Staff, Go Comi Disappears

By Chris Beveridge     May 12, 2010

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Update: Viz Media has posted a news item on their site talking about the news below;

"Restructuring at VIZ Media

VIZ Media is in the process of refining its focus and is restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities. 

As part of the restructuring the company had to refine its workforce by eliminating certain positions and making cuts in other areas. 

We are of course saddened by these departures, and sincerely appreciate the hard work, passion and dedication of those that have moved on, but we feel confident that with these changes VIZ Media will be more streamlined and able to withstand the climate of the economy at this time. 

This restructuring was not insignificant; however, this was primarily an  internal reprioritization to build toward our future. We wish to  apologize to our wonderful fans if this news has caused you concern. Be  assured VIZ Media remains committed in its obligations to you. We have  no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations  or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away."


Earlier post:

Through information sent to Publishers Weekly, news has come down that the company has closed its New York office comprising of five employees while another 55 or so jobs were eliminated or consolidated at the company's San Francisco headquarters, which amounts to nearly 40% of the total employees. Viz Media went through a restructuring in early 2009 that involved some layoffs as well, and those with longer memories will remember previous layoffs as well over the years that streamlined or altered the course of the company, though those tended to get less attention during the boom years.

Which are most assuredly over as manga sales continue to decline, with current estimates showing that 2009 was 20% less than the year before, sure to delight some "fans" who want nothing licensed by publishers or for them to even exist.

Speaking of not existing, though it's taken awhile, hints by those at Go! Comi appear to have come true as not only did the company shutter their forums awhile ago, but they've closed down their site entirely by the most unhealthy of means - letting the domain name expire. Their twitter account has also been deleted and the company has released no titles in October 2009. While the publisher had some very well received titles, they never really gained a lot of ground overall in mindshare or marketshare though they had quite a loyal following with some intriguing and offbeat titles.

Combine this news with the recent changes at Yen Press with their monthly magazine going online and once again we have another bleak picture for the manga industry with no real solutions in sight, largely because they're all hamstrung by the Japanese publishers and contracts that keep them from moving firmly into the future with full download to own solutions through various platforms, be it straight on the web, custom PC/Mac software of an iPad/tablet solution.

Personally speaking, I fell out of manga five years ago when the glut became too much and it was impossible to keep up with series I wanted to read because there was simply too much at once. And looking back at it, with the large boxes or full shelves of manga, there's no way I can go back. While I fully support those who want real books in hand, a growing segment of older fans are becoming like myself in that they only want a digital solution for the most part and are treating anime and manga as entirely disposable entertainment as opposed to collectible entertainment like we have since the mid 90's and particularly since the anime and manga boom at the beginning of the decade when DVD gained full mainstream acceptance. 

The problem is that people like myself are willing to pay for these digital solutions, though I suspect a great many of the younger generation won't go that route. But until there IS a solution out there like this, as I keep a close eye on what Marvel is doing with their iPad world along with other comics publishers, a great many of us simply aren't going to purchase manga or comics for awhile. Which is self defeating, but not surprising considering the economy and general state of mind for many fans with the deluge of bad news in the last couple of years. Manga and anime publishers need to find more positive things to talk about on a regular basis and actively work that while also really finding a solution that works instead of just cutting, cutting and closing.


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Justp94 5/12/2010 12:16:12 PM

lol maybe now that they restructuring they will release some of their old licenses again liek boys over flowers..

Calibur454 5/12/2010 2:36:07 PM

your welcome chris :)

Chris Beveridge 5/12/2010 2:41:29 PM

 Calibur, I already knew, believe me. I just wasn't at home to be able to write it. :)

insaneben 5/12/2010 3:37:39 PM

Quoting Viz:

"Be assured VIZ Media remains committed in its obligations to you. We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away."

I hope that doesn't translate to: "Your favorite titles will face a significant reduction in quality and increase in spelling/gramatical errors (a la Del Rey Manga as of late)". I have to wonder which side will feel a more immediate impact: the anime or manga side? I know 40% is not a number to take lightly, but if their latest volumes of One Piece call Zolo/Zoro "Zowo", I might as well jump ship.

As for Go Comi, I kinda knew this was going to happen. Not that I like it when manga publishers disappear without a trace, much less some sort of notice (ADV Manga, Infinity Studios and DR Master are all guilty of this), but seeing as how the last thing they published was a volume of Ultimate Venus back in October, and hadn't made any announcements since then, it was pretty much curtains for them.

I sure hope someone license-rescues 07-Ghost, Ultimate Venus and Japan Ai, though we're kinda running out of places that can salvage lost titles, much less keep themselves afloat...

Calibur454 5/14/2010 7:15:53 PM

The problem with viz as of late is that their dvd offerings are pretty mute up to this point. Normally you only see something like bleach naruto offered up. It is pretty rare that they snag a new title for dvds. I keep feeling that viz is staying with the tried and true and is to afraid to take a risk on another series that may or may not hit.



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