New Anime 2018 Sales Grow, But Industry Must Invest In The People At Studios, Says Twin Engine President

Patrick Frye - Author
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May 3 2018, Updated 3:08 p.m. ET

The anime industry is continuing to grow rapidly thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Some anime companies have found themselves switching up their business model. For example, in the past, anime home video sales used to comprise the lion’s share of revenues, but in some cases, the Blu-Ray/DVD sales now only amount to a small portion of new 2018 anime sales. Besides changes to the business model, some leaders in the industry believe that investing in the people of anime studios is necessary to sustain growth, and it’s no secret that Japanese animators are often paid poorly.

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The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) provides an annual industry report and now they’ve published the trends for 2017. What is notable is that the anime industry has about doubled in revenue in comparison to 2002, when the total market value for the anime industry was about 1.09 trillion yen. The real growth started in 2013 when growth reached double-point percentages, and by 2016 the anime industry had posted a record 2 trillion yen (about $17.5 billion USD).

Of course, most of this growth was from overseas market growth for anime, not because of domestic market increases. New anime has become popular to the point that even Kim Kardashian is talking about Darling In The FranXX in 2018. However, the U.S. does not top the charts when it comes to countries having the most contracts with the Japanese anime industry. Instead, China has taken that number one position as of 2015.

In the new 2018 anime spring season, over 40 new anime were launched. Many are produced using the production committee system, where risk is hedged by splitting the cost between multiple companies with certain interests in the property. For example, the anime studios will usually create an entire season for a set rate that does not fluctuate too much, based on industry standards. Book publishers love anime because they serve as advertisements for any related manga and light novel series. Then there are the package businesses that sell the Blu-Ray and DVD.

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