As some of you probably already know by now, I’m actually on hiatus due to exams that, unfortunately, don’t want to write themselves, but I figured that some news is too good (read: worth discussing, not good in a good way) to leave alone until I finish.
If you’re looking for ways to watch more anime, worry not. I’ve posted an update over here that might help you out :)
So finally, it’s official. Animax South Africa is dead. As of 31 October 2010, almost exactly 3 years after it offered a brief glimmer of hope for anime fans in South Africa, DStv channel 126 will no longer exist. Multichoice has, instead, in what has to be the blindest moment in corporate history (that I’m personally aware of – I’m sure there are worse cases) decided to replace it with another channel that will also be operated by Sony.
Before all the past naysayers hop up and down and celebrate their prophetic powers, I needed to take the time to highlight the kind of epic denseness that corporates in the modern world are becoming renowned for.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty here. MultiChoice spokesperson Marietjie Groenewald stated that any channels forming part of the DStv bouquet have pre-agreed performance levels they need to maintain, and that these performance levels are determined by various factors – customer ratings and enjoyment, max level of repeats and general rate of new programs added per month. That makes sense.
According to MultiChoice, Animax seems to “have performed poorly.” In fact, Groenewald went as far as to say, and I quote, “The reason why Animax is going off air is because the Japanese anime genre that was featured on the channel did not attract the broad viewing audience that MultiChoice had targeted.”
Let’s examine this statement for clarity (and level of denseness). Approximately 50% of the shows that were recently playing on Animax were western reality TV shows, including such “gems” as Kenny vs Spenny and neXt (see this post for a more comprehensive listing), with roughly 50% of actual anime time happening sometime between midnight and 6am. Not exactly the time most of us would be watching. Another 30%-odd would be aired between 8am and 1pm. Wait, what? Don’t most of us have school/work roughly thereabouts? At least in my world. Maybe in Sony-land things work differently. Or they were running on Tokyo-time – difficult to comprehend since the channel was operated by Sony UK.
The anime that was actually being shown, consisted of a raft of re-runs with terminally confusing timetables. Shows like .hack//Sign, .hack//Legend of the Twilight, Wolf’s Rain, Eureka Seven – to name a few – had been airing on repeat for nearly three years now. And there were very few A-list shows on that list, with nothing new.
So even where Animax was nearly getting it right, they were making a royal mess of things.
So, to summarise, the channel wasn’t being operated to optimally target its core target audience.
To summarise the summary – it was a bloody cock-up from day one.
To summarise the summary of the summary – you were pissing off the very people you were supposed to be pleasing.*
The execs of whatever planet in whatever universe they were sitting and smoking their socks in must’ve thought South Africa had never seen or experience anime, and would therefore accept any kind of drivel pushed our way, compelling us to worship them, drooling in ecstasy. Maybe someone should give them a call and highlight the existence of the internet – and by extension online shopping. I think my personal collection is worth more that the entire list of shows Animax has been airing since 2007.
Regardless, it doesn’t end there. Not content with subtly insulting our collective intelligence, MultiChoice has decided to rub it in a little. MultiChoice said that “Channel 126 will be reserved for a new channel from Sony Pictures Television which will launch in February 2011. The new channel will retain some of the very popular live action and reality-based programmes that were popular on Animax. In order to appeal to a broader audience, the new channel will focus on action-oriented movies, game shows, series and reality programmes.”
So, basically, they’re going to take everything that made the channel fail horribly, put it on a new channel, and push it out to a broader audience. By this I can assume that they are specifically going to air it in jails and mental institutions, and anywhere where the antics of previously mentioned Kenny and Spenny may be considered – and I say this with considerable venom – mildly amusing.
Seriously – get with the picture. I can, off the top of my head, name about 50 people (myself included) who could do a better job of running a channel for anime fans. MultiChoice has displayed a gigantic amount of ignorance on what anime actually is (with referrals to such channels as Disney and Cartoon Network). Don’t interface with your market much, do you?
But frankly – I find it easier just to buy my anime these days, and for those who find buying anime unaffordable, there are a number of sites which offer anime streaming (legally even) – I’ll do a future post with some options that fans may want to consider. But also, anime fans in South Africa need to consider what they can do to achieve a broader level of visibility for the genre, since we, as a country, seem to be stepping backwards a bit – this year’s rAge Expo being a case in point – virtually no anime-related presence at all, apart from a few small traders and the cosplay event.
Everybody starts small – and at this point, even Ireland is beating us!!
PS I included an image of Kenny vs Spenny in this post. This bothers me at a very deep and personal level, but it had to be done. I’m taking one for the team.
*The summary method was borrowed from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I liked it … I copied it :p