Dear Brother 001 - 20131108Yesterday, Anime News Network reported that Anime Sols reached the crowd-funding goal for the first Dear Brother boxed set. The series, which had a planned goal of $13,000 currently stands at $13,890 in contributions. This is the second crowd-funding goal reached by Anime Sols in the past week, with Creamy Mami hitting its goal in the closing hours of its campaign.

For Anime Sols, this is undoubtedly a boon. The company’s repeatedly emphasized that their profit structure relies heavily on goals being met on a regular basis. Since the company opened its doors, though, Anime Sols has seen a total of four successful fund drives:

  • Black Jack Set 1 ($23,275)
  • Creamy Mami Set 1 ($22,500)
  • Creamy Mami Set 2 ($19,150)
  • Dear Brother Set 1 ($13,890)

This leads to a total of $78,815 in total revenues for the company through set sales. Breaking this down further, we’re looking at roughly $11,259.29 per month in revenues since Anime Sols opened its doors in May. While it’s good to see that projects are being successfully funded, the amount being taken is still quite low. And, given that we’ve seen four of eighteen sets actually reach their funding goals, we’re looking at a roughly 22% success rate for the company’s offerings.

From a consumer’s perspective, this is understandable. Anime Sols’s first successful projects completed their fund drives in July. Creamy Mami‘s  first set, the first succesful fund drive for the company, was funded by July 28, 2013. Due to the nature of DVD production, these backers have yet to receive their sets. This is understandable, which has led to many customers being patient and supportive of the company. However, until these sets begin to reach backers, Anime Sols has no solid product that people can judge. Without a tangible product, there will always be a contingent of customers that remain on the fence on a purchase. And, given that the average funded title has about 250-300 backers, a few people on the fence can make a meaningful difference in the performance of a show, and even a factor in the show reaching (or not reaching) its funding goals.

If we take a step back and look at the company’s business model at this point, we can easily pinpoint where this becomes troubling. Anime Sols does not sell advertisements on the site, nor do they sell sponsorships on their video streams. They sell no merchandise (on its own), and they do not sell premium subscriptions to their streaming service. This means that the vast majority, if not all of the company’s profits come from the pledge drives. After licensing and labor costs, this does mean that profits will be significantly lower than the gross take. And, given the nature of crowd-funding, revenues will vary wildly depending on what people see fit to support.

In the next few months, it will be important to see just how things play out for Anime Sols. If these initial products are of a decent quality, we will more than likely see grassroots support from backers as they post pictures, scans, and other reports on social media and blogging outlets. This will serve as a means of advertising Anime Sols’s products, and to potentially calm some fears about diving into the service’s crowd-funding model. Of course, if the products are sub-par, the opposite could also happen, and the customer could become Anime Sols’s worst nightmare. Anime Sols has to play a careful game, as the goodwill in its devoted customers will be vital to the company’s growth in the near future.