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.
There are a few reasons why this may occur — the language barrier, lack of potential appeal to foreign audiences, licensing difficulties, cultural differences, or censorship — for more, see Analysis.
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.
- But even that example is problematic, as Canada and the US do not form one territory for licensing of audiovisual works. A lot of the same works get released exclusively on separate, mutually-inaccessible services in each of those two countries, and most of the time not simultaneously.
- 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.
Can lead to Sequel First or Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.".
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
- Live-Action TV
- New Media
- Puppet Shows
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Tales Series
- Pokémon note
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Chinese Animation is typically never released outside China nor dubbed in English or other European languages, but a few of them, like Boonie Bears, were able to subvert note (or barely avert) this. As a general rule, you might be able to find one or two English-dubbed episodes of a particular Chinese cartoon floating around that are meant to illustrate the company's licensing, but that's about it.
- Happy Heroes just barely subverts this in the United States and Southeast Asia, as it has received an official release on the educational platform Miao Mi, which is meant to teach children Chinese. They've even dubbed the two seasons they have (Seasons 7 and 8) into English and Indonesian. The only downside is that you have to pay for the service to watch the episodes.
- The Israeli animated series Mikmak, based on the virtual world of the same name, has never aired outside of Israel, except for a episode which was dubbed in English and made available on the official YouTube channel for free worldwide alongside content related to the show.
- Noonbory and the Super 7 has a second season which was never released outside of South Korea due to the first season failing internationally.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf:
- The franchise also never saw release on European countries (except Disney's Licensed Game), but subverted as Dear Little Wishes season and as well as Pleasant Goat Fun Class season were only saw limited release (and it was also dubbed in English) in North America and Southeast Asia, but it was also on Miao Mi.
- The "Goat Olympics" season were only broadcasted in China and Taiwan.
- The live-action movie only showed in China.
- Gypsy Tales: Only the first three episodes are available in English on YouTube.