Anime profit picture mixed

DVD sales experience slowing

TOKYO — A survey by the Nikkei newspaper of  leading Japanese toon houses found a cloudy profit picture for 2007, amid a general slowing for DVD sales.

Leader Toei Animation, responsible for the iconic “Dragonball,” “Sailormoon” and “Digimon” series, foresees a 28 percent drop in pretax profit, to Y2.7 billion ($22,3 million), for the current fiscal year, with a softening sales of high-profit-margin DVDs a main reason.

Another major player, Bandai Visual, expects pre-tax profit to edge down 3 percent to Y4.8 billion ($39.7 billion), though it blames the drop on slower music sales. Bandai is responsible, as producer and distrib, for a huge number of anime titles, including the “Gundam,” “Macross” and “Cardcaptor Sakura” series.

On the brighter side, TMS Entertainment, whose pics include entries in the hit “Detective Conan” series, foresees a 19 percent gain in pretax profit, to Y1.9 billion ($15.7 million), though the gains will come from its AG Square arcade facilities rather than its toon titles, whose sales have been flat. Also expecting to see better results this year is GDH, whose Gonzo production house had a theatrical hit last year with the fantasy “Brave Story,” though the improvements will come from cost cuts, not brisker toon royalty sales, while remain in a slump.

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