Any work can be very well received in its country of origin without being famous elsewhere. Some franchises seem to churn out tons upon tons of merchandise and special content. Internationally, the majority of this stuff sees limited release, if any.
This is when any work was not released in a country even though there were good reasons to export it there. It has to meet at least one of the following conditions:
- It is part of a franchise that has previously proven to be successful in other regions (e.g. Sailor Moon).
- It was made with the specific intention of being sold overseas (e.g. Sin and Punishment).
- Its genre and/or sensibilities make it the sort of thing that would be exported in the absence of foreign fans clamoring for it.
This is about media that's not exported for no obvious reason.
Because of the Internet, people have become far more aware of works from abroad, including obscure ones that aren't aimed at their country at all. But, just because a Vocal Minority believes something from abroad should be released for them, doesn't mean their country is a viable market. The distributors have to think of the money.
In this section, the following are not valid examples:
- Audiovisual works — by nature, most audiovisual work is made explicitly for domestic consumption with little intention of exporting it. The only exception would be if it has already been released in some markets and proven successful.
- Works that are released only in very similar markets, such as Canada and the US. Because these two share so much in common, it isn't a big indicator of success in the rest of the world.
- Many video games never get released outside of their home market, for the same reasons as other audiovisual works (like TV shows and movies). Video game examples can be included only if one or more installments of a franchise have already been released in a different region.
If there's little likelihood of strong market demand for a particular work, it is fair for a company not to export it to a foreign region. Movies made in Europe from the 1920s-'50s usually weren't released in the U.S., unless the starring actor/actress was a really big, recognizable name - Sophia Loren, say. Otherwise, the commercial release of said movie there wouldn't have been financially viable.
Still, with today's primary distribution point being online for music (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify), games (Steam), movies (Netflix), books (Amazon) and television (Hulu), you gotta wonder about the motivation behind regionally restricted release when manufacture and shipping costs simply don't apply. Plus, as is often cited in online discussions related to the issue, if consumers cannot obtain work via legal means - i.e. buying a ticket, purchasing a DVD or CD, or through subscribing to a streaming service or cable network - they will often turn to download and other methods, resulting in the producer of a work getting no revenue for it at all.
Nothing sucks more than a certain series you want to see translated not getting one. Sometimes even a Fan Translation can't help, since the company may throw a Fanwork Ban at you, stonewalling any translation attempt.
This may overlap with Region Coding, especially where DVDs, Blu-rays, gaming media, and web media is involved. May also invoke Screwed by the Network if it's only later seasons of a show that is not being exported and the show has been taken off the air in said markets where the show had been screwed, which may result in a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes.
See also Bad Export for You for a less extreme, yet more insulting version; also No Dub for You if a title is released without a native dub track. Compare to Offer Void In Nebraska and Banned in China (which is essentially "No Import for You"). Also compare the Denial of Digital Distribution variety where the digital release is region-limited. See also Import Gaming for a way around this. Contrast Short Run in Peru, and Germans Love David Hasselhoff. For a possible subversion, see Late Export for You.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Light Novels
- Live-Action TV
- New Media
- Puppet Shows
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Lamput has no blatant ties to its home country of India, the show's been popular in various foreign markets (such as Asia, Brazil, etc.), there's nothing to translate or dub, and episodes are very short so they don't need to dedicate a lot of air time to the show. Clearly, there's no good reason not to release this in America, but it hasn't aired there yet.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf:
- The "Goat Olympics" were only broadcasted in China and Taiwan.
- The live-action movie only showed in China.