Bandai Entertainment has announced a temporary discontinuation of DVD backlist products released before 2004. Bandai is taking over the distribution of its titles from Geneon (formerly Pioneer) and the backlist moratorium will facilitate the switchover. Starting on March 1, 2004 Bandai will start resoliciting its DVD backlist items with updated SKU and UPC codes. Aside from the SKU and UPC codes, the actual DVD product will remain the same and Bandai is urging retailers to keep the Bandai DVDs on the shelf. Starting January 7, Bandai is opening a 60-day window for retailers to return catalog DVD products obtained through Geneon/Pioneer Distribution.
Bandai is reducing prices on a number of titles, and retailers will have the option either to return the product within the 60 days or receive price protection credits to compensate for the new lower prices. Some of the key titles, which will see a price reduction, include the first six Love Hina volumes, which now have a suggested retail of $24.98, the 8-volume classic Escalfowne TV Series, which now has an msrp of $14.98, the 4-volume Crest of the Stars series, now reduced to $19.98, and the 10 Gundam Wing volumes, now available at $19.98. Other key titles with price reductions include: Cowboy Bebop's Best Session (now $19.98), Blue Submarine No. 6 -- Special Edition (now $29.98), the Escaflowne movie ($19.98), the Outlaw Star Box Set ($59.98), the 6-volume Fancy Lala series (now $9.98 each), the 4-volume MS Gundam the 08 MS Team (now $19.98), the 4-volume Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl series (down to $14.98), and the brilliant Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Movie (now at $19.98).
Bandai's price reductions on its backlist are very much in line with what is going on with non-anime backlist DVDs; in fact, anime titles have been more resistant to the pressure to lower prices than any other segment of the DVD market. Retailers who have stock on these Bandai titles can return them or receive price protection credits, which will allow them to sell the disks at the new lower prices without taking a financial hit.