Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Geneon Entertainment, Inc., a Japanese anime and distribution enterprise, was previously known as Pioneer Entertainment. The North American branch specialized in translating and distributing anime and related merchandise. The company was acquired by Dentsu in July 2003, and renamed Geneon Entertainment, Inc.
On August 24, 2007, a press release stated that ADV Films would handle distribution, marketing, and sales of Geneon products on October 1, 2007. It was also said that Geneon would still be able to acquire, license, and produce anime in North America. In the process of preparing for the merger, Geneon USA laid off much of its sales and marketing teams. However, on September 20, 2007, the Anime News Network published a report saying that the distribution deal between ADV Films and Geneon had been cancelled.
On September 21, 2007, Dentsu issued a press release confirming the breakdown of the deal with ADV Films. No other details were given, except that ADV Films and Geneon were "unable to reach a mutual agreement." Also, the press release stated that, "from October 1, 2007, Geneon USA will focus mainly on management of its works portfolio."
On September 26, 2007, the U.S. branch of Geneon announced they were withdrawing from distribution in North America and cancelling all DVD releases for the United States market after November 6, 2007. Also, the company said it would cease "the sales of DVDs and all related distribution and marketing operations as of 5 p.m. on Friday, September 28, 2007." Another provision stated in the letter sent to retailers explained that no more returns would be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on November 30, and new orders after September 21 could not be returned at all. The letter to retailers did not address the issue of the future availability of titles or Geneon USA's future production plans. However, the company cited the termination of the merger with ADV Films as the reason for these changes.
On October 6, 2007, Eiji Orii, Geneon Entertainment (USA)'s President and CEO, wrote a letter to the fans to address concerns and issues e-mailed to the company and posted to various Internet messageboards. Mr. Orii explained that the company was exploring all available options to continue distributing Geneon titles at a later date. He also said that the company would release more information to the public "once we have any concrete plans, if any." At the same time, the company announced the closure of Geneon Spot, their official online fanclub.