Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 30, 2006

CPM Watch: Statement to

Central Park Media is exepected to have an official announcement today about its status as a company; believed to be going into bankruptcy after clearing the offices of all but a few essential personnel late last week. You can read discussions by fans and industry observers here and here. had a statement here, which cites the Musicland bankruptcy and its punch in the stomach of anime providers as the major reason.

Although there may be some talk that CPM's are a sign of a market correction or dark times ahead for anime and particularly manga, I don't quite share that impression -- considering my ignorance of the manga market, you can take that for what you will. But to my way of thinking, any look at recent Bookscan numbers indicates dozens of dozens of manga title with kick ass sales. It's a reasonably mature market at this point, in which there are bound to be winners and losers; we're past that time when companies will enjoy success simply for being in the right general place at the right general time. A third and possibly most damning reason this isn't a dire sign for the category is that no one's perception of Central Park Media's impending announcement seems to be "What!? They should have been a huge success now!" as much as it is "Yeah, that totally makes sense they might crap out."

CPM sounds like they may have been ill-suited to compete with the bigger companies once both the anime and manga markets ramped up. It's a pretty common economic outcome in all sorts of industries, where a market initially served by a modest-sized company or a few modest-sized companies eventually becomes dominated by much bigger companies as sales heat up, with the originals that survive doing so by really pressing an advantage inherent to their company or moving into a boutique role. CPM, which already faltered once, does not seem to be one of those companies with a boutique future, although you never know. One thing: in terms of their manga efforts, it didn't seem like they published a lot of titles at all, at leat not recently. -- not an exact measure by any means -- has them with one book out this calendar year. Ditton Barnes and Noble. The fan perception linked to above seems to be that there are some gems in CPM's deep catalog and good people on staff, so that might be its long-term legacy.
posted 2:40 am PST | Permalink

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