When I attended FanExpo at Santiago, Chile in 2005, one of the most frequent requests by Spanish-speaking fans was for a modern re-release of the Robotech television series with the original 1986 Spanish voice tracks. This was a project that we had quietly worked on for a very long time, and we are pleased to announce the new DVD release produced by Divisa Home Video.
Many fans wondered why it had taken so long, considering that the Spanish-language market is a very large segment of the Robotech fan base. Sure, there were the challenges of explaining the all the dizzying details regarding the various versions of Robotech to the uninitiated. Most home video marketing executives will instinctively request the 2003 remastered version of Robotech that was first released by ADV Films with both English and Spanish tracks in 5.1 surround sound. However, the 2003 Spanish tracks were recorded in Mexico City without the original 1986 actors. This has happened before with other series such as The Simpsons and nostalgic fans will quickly let you know that they notice the difference. The whole idea of releasing an older version in plain stereo would be counterintuitive unless the DVD distributor were unfamiliar with Robotech's history in Spanish fandom. We finally found the right partner who understood all the issues with Juan José Redondo, the head of acquisitions at Divisa Home Video. However, this process took very a long time as other interested publishers were being affected by a very serious issue: PIRACY.
Illegal downloads, especially in Spanish-speaking markets, is so widespread that it is making it more difficult for official distributors to recoup their investment, and this has the direct consequence of hurting the prospects of future projects in markets most affected by piracy. Even major established companies such as Divisa are feeling the effects of this situation and Mr. Redondo would like the share the following message to Spanish fans.
Harmony Gold USA
You know we have tried to keep you updated about the untenable situation of the Spanish market, not just because of the Global Downturn but also (and most important for us…) because of the effects of illegal downloads of copyrighted materials. I suppose we sometimes seemed “apocalyptic” in our comments… but I’m afraid the situation is really serious, so serious that a great deal of the industry is in danger and could disappear in the short term. To date, DIVISA has not been directly affected by piracy on the internet (because our catalogue is not focused on blockbusters, but on silent films, documentaries, etc). However, the huge decrease of revenues of the main clients we usually work with (El Corte Inglés, FNAC, Media Markt, Carrefour, etc) has caused a huge decrease of the DVD corners in the stores… which means less DVD on the shelves and lower wholesale prices.
The Rodríguez Zapatero Government (our Prime Minister) went on holidays without approving any Legal measure against illegal downloading. The whole Spanish audiovisual industry was hoping that, in the last Cabinet of Ministers – held early August – the Minister of Culture would present a Royal in Council to lay the foundations for the above-mentioned regulation. Unfortunately, it seems we need a miracle to put into practice a series of consistent measures against piracy on the internet, when it should be the other way round: an obligation of the Spanish Government to protect the legal companies that, till not long ago, belonged to a solid, profitable, beneficial sector for the National Public Treasury. However, and due to their slovenliness, lack of interest or spurious interests of some members of the Government, the audiovisual industry is going bankrupt.
The apathy of our Government when the time comes to legislate and instil our society that illegal downloading of copyrighted material= CRIME is leading us to an untenable situation. Spain ranks # 3 in the "top-ten" of most pirate countries in the world (together with China and Russia). Considering the number of households of each country and the fact that more than 300 million illegal downloads were made in Spain throughout 2008, we begin being conscious of the seriousness of this matter. Other European countries (France, UK, Netherlands, Sweden …) are currently fighting against this curse. Nevertheless, our country makes the old saying good. "Spain is different..."
I highly encourage all of you to take a look at the September 2009 issue of Tercer Mercado Video, the leading professional magazine of the Spanish home video market. I think it’s a very good way to learn more about the whole and understand our position while discussing new acquisitions in the near future. In any case, (and quoting a good friend of mine) “when the storm winds blow, it is not the time to reduce power to our engines”. The one thing that we believe is that the best way to handle this is to trade our way through it.
I hope you find it of interest.
Juan José Redondo
Divisa Home Video
Yes, some fans have rationalized sharing their old VHS copies of Robotech as their favorite episodes were once almost impossible to find. However, as we're now working to making Robotech more easily available everywhere, from home video to digital downloads to free online streaming (with commercial sponsorship), we hope fans understand how it is important to support official distributors to help make more future releases such as this possible.
Click here to for a Spanish translation and to discuss in the Robotech Español forum
Click here to discuss the Robotech DVDs from Divisa Home Video (English)
Special thanks to Sebastian Alonso, Alois Fisher, and Guillermo Patino for their translation assistance.