Elex Media, Level, and m&c! manga: Commitment VS. Fulfillment (December 2008 edition, updated)

Revised the numbers because I originally wrote this hungover. My apologies to anyone who might've actually used my initial muzzy calculations for... whatever. (An extremely remote possibility.)

Even though it's already a new year, I doubt Elex, Level, and m&c! would cease qualifying their manga schedules with Jadwal dapat berubah sewaktu-waktu (schedules subject to change) as part of a 2009 resolution list. Nor would any other manga publisher for that matter, I should think?

Still, I've always wondered how much off those timetables were and as I sit here watching the raindrops fall, recuperating from last night's revelries, I decided to conduct a little experiment.

I never got around to posting the Komikologi Elex December 2008 for Elex and Level (only did a monthly schedule for m&c!), but I do have them offline. I tallied the totals from the weekly schedules and compared them with monthlies to see how much of a discrepancy we got.

Here's what I found:

m&c! delivers 95% of its commitments

In December, at least.

Notwithstanding the egregious Full House Kiss miss, m&c! delivered 33 manga, manhwa, and manhua in December, 50% more than its promised 22 titles. As far as I know, there were no legacies or titles rescheduled from the preceding months among the December manga.

Two series premieres (no standalones) m&c! had planned for the month released as scheduled (100% fulfillment), although in actual numbers, m&c! debuted three series. Also per plan, four of m&c's manga, manhwa, and manhua also concluded in December.

Table 1. m&c! Metrics (December 2008)

m&c! Dec-08
Commmitment 22 titles
Fulfillment rate 95%
Actual deliveries 33 titles
Outstandings share* 4.5%
Reschedules share* 0%
Premieres fulfillment rate** 100%

* % of commitment
** % of promised titles debuting as scheduled (excluding standalones)

Elex Media delivers 45% of its commitments

Elex promised 72 tankoubon and four mangazines in December, but missed scheduling 41 titles and one manga anthology (Shonen Star 48) for the distribution armada. Eight percent of Elex's December commitments are legacies.

Titles released in advance
While Q.E.D 30 was preponed to 26 November, it is still included in the December tallies as it had been conditionally planned to release in that month. Kitchen Princess 7, School X Fight 2, and Sugar Sugar Rune 7, however, are excluded, having been released before they could be promoted in any schedule.

Total actual releases for December reached 51 tankou, four manga anthologies (the fourth/extra was Nakayoshi Lovely 4), and three manga box sets of 10 volumes/set (excluded from the tankou count).

Of the seven new series Elex promised, four premiered as scheduled. Elex also released two standalones per the December timetable. Elex planned to conclude four manga series, but only three finished their Indonesian publication runs during this period.

Table 2. Elex Media Metrics (December 2008)

Elex Media Dec-08
Commmitment 76
Fulfillment rate 45%
Actual deliveries 55
Outstandings share* 55%
Reschedules share* 8%
Premieres fulfillment rate** 57%

* % of commitment
** % of promised titles debuting as scheduled (excluding standalones)

Level Comics delivers 14% of its commitments

Level scheduled 29 manga for December, five more than its minimum 24 titles/month commitment. Only one title—Blade of the Immortal 4—had been rescheduled from November.

In terms of actual deliveries, Level managed just 17 (accounting for the 14% fulfillment rate), rendering 86% of Level's December commitments outstanding.

Level did not debut nor finish any series during this month. Neither does it issue a monthly manga anthology.

Table 3. Level Comics Metrics (December 2008)

Level Comics Dec-08
Commmitment 29
Fulfillment rate 14%
Actual deliveries 17
Outstandings share* 86%
Reschedules share* 3%
Premieres fulfillment rate** NA

* % of commitment
** % of promised titles debuting as scheduled (excluding standalones)

Source: Elex and Level commitment totals were tallied from the Komikologi December bulletin. m&c!'s numbers were based on the advised monthly schedule. Fulfillment references weekly release lists for December 2008.

huamulan03's attempt at an analysis

(The title ought to clue you in that I possibly, maybe, perhaps not really know what I'm talking about.)

Nevertheless —

What do these numbers tell me? The first thing that struck me was the "obvious" Elex and Level need to be a bit more precise in their manga scheduling—the normal reader/buyer point of view. But after some cogitation (that really shouldn't be done with an uncooperative head), I realized that there might be something else behind the "misses" than what's self-evident.

Meeting targets would always be the paramount thing in an ideal world. But what exactly do we mean by "targets"? If targets equaled lump sum profits, then the question to ask would be: Would sales incomes from these manga be booked the same month? The answer to this should then guide any scheduling.

If it were the case that incomes are booked during the same month, I would assume then that the more astute business line would be to sell what would move—over those already scheduled but with fewer expected orders. Sure, production might protest, but if, say, the unscheduled Kitchen Princess 7 would sell more than Kedai Tasogare 7 (scheduled for December), then I would also release the seventh KitchPri first. Conversion to cash as quickly as possible is always desirable. As my Risk Management instructor used to say: The first way out is cash; the second way out is cash; the third way out is cash.

Even if this tactic plays havoc with my manga recessionista cashflow, the upshot of my manga purveyor's healthier cashflow (which translates to its continued existence, thus persisting in feeding my fix) would have to be acceptable compensation.

If I were to continue playing conspiracy theorist here, the fact that Elex Media is assisting m&c! in distribution carries this cash, cash, cash! implication. Delivering scheduled manga that doesn't convert to expected profits would make any target fulfillment, no matter how high the rate, effete. (Although I don't think that holds true with m&c!'s December performance; those +50% more manga aren't catch-ups as far as I know. And anyway, it's irrelevant because increased volume alone should produce more income.)

The Level case, however, might be different. (Way to go with the weasel wording...) Pre-the 24 titles per month target, that 17 was around the area of Level's monthly average. Perhaps mandating the 50% increase was too precipitate, especially if resources do not support. Maybe 20 titles a month is more manageable?

All this babble may be just that: babble. I was curious, is all, and if I can find uses for the weekly release schedules I post religiously as well, then that's an added bonus in my book.

If I can also continue keeping track of advanced/quick releases, I might be able to find more "evidence" to back up my "market-sensitive" scheduling theory.

But for now, for this month, my curiosity is satisfied.

~niki DBA huamulan03 (花木蘭03) who sez let's see what happens this January

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end notes

m&c!'s Actual Deliveries for December 2008 (Weekly breakdown)

Release date Tankoubon Anthology
12.01 4
12.07 10
12.15 8
12.22 11

m&c!'s unscheduled manga, manhwa, and manhua for December 2008

  1. Almighty X 10 5 of 5 by Mizuto Aqua [Finale] (12.15)
  2. [Premiere] A Future Doctor 1 (12.22)
  3. Gober 112 (12.15)
  4. H2O 5 of 7 by Hwang SookJi (12.15)
  5. Happy Happy Clover 4 of 5 by Tatsuyama Sayuri (12.22)
  6. Koharu Biyori 5 of 5 by Higuchi Nichiho [Finale] (12.15)
  7. Long Hu Men (Oriental Heroes) 157 by Tony Wong Yuk Long (12.15)
  8. Minima 3 of 4 by Sakurai Machiko (12.22)
  9. My Melancholy Ninja Girl by Tanemura Arina (12.15)
  10. Rainbow Miracle (Nanairo Miracle) 7 of 7 by Kanaki Shiori (12.22)
  11. Sprout 5 of 7 by Nanba Atsuko (12.22)

m&c!'s new series for December 2008 (Scheduled)

  1. Born to Cook (Mister Ajikko II) 1 by Terasawa Daisuke (12.15)
  2. Pedang Mahadewa Fore Stories III Book 1 by Tony Wong Yuk Long (12.22)

m&c!'s concluding series for December 2008 (Scheduled)

  1. Dai's Attack (Dai no Attack) 6 of 6 by Izumi Makoto (12.22)
  2. Neck and Neck 8 of 8 by Lee SunHee (12.07)
  3. Pedang Mahadewa Fore Stories III Book 3 of 3 by Tony Wong Yuk Long (12.22)
  4. Time Stranger Kyoko 3 of 3 by Tanemura Arina (12.01)

Elex Media manga rescheduled from November 2008

  1. Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo 16 by Sawai Yoshio (not released in December)
  2. Flash of Wind (Kaze Hikaru) 23 by Watanabe Taeko (not released in December)
  3. Fullmetal Alchemist 16 by Arakawa Hiromu (released 12.03)
  4. MÄR Omega 4/4 by Anzai Nobuyuki & Hoshino Koichiro (released 12.03)
  5. One Pound Gospel (1 Pound no Fukuin) 2 by Takahashi Rumiko (still outstanding)
  6. Q.E.D. 30 by Katou Motohiro (actually released per November schedule)

Elex Media's Actual Deliveries for December 2008 (Weekly breakdown)

Release date Tankoubon Anthology
12.03 17 1
12.10 10 2
12.17 12
12.24 12 1

Elex Media December 2008 manga box sets

  1. Doraemon 1 to 10 by Fujiko F. Fujio (12.17)
  2. One Piece 11 to 20 by Oda Eiichiro (12.03)
  3. One Piece 21 to 30 by Oda Eiichiro

Elex Media December 2008 manga premiers

  1. Dan Doh Next Generation 1 by Sakata Nobuhiro, Banjo Daichi (12.03)
  2. Kaiser Z 1 by Uno Hiroshi (12.24)
  3. Otomen 1 by Kanno Aya (12.17)
  4. School x Fight 1 by Hara Asumi (12.03)

Level Comic's Actual Deliveries for December 2008 (Weekly breakdown)

Release date Titles released
12.02 4
12.09 3
12.16 3
12.23 4

Revised: 2009.02.06

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