Japanese anime becomes a global sensation

Anime is becoming one of the most popular Japanese cultural exports

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Japanese anime becomes a global sensation


Future. Anime is becoming one of the most popular Japanese cultural exports… and a new north star for the streaming industry looking to jumpstart growth. Considering how immensely popular in-person anime events are around the world, entertainment companies could experiment with hybrid theatrical and digital programming that makes the most use of its passionate fanbase.

Stream import
According to THR, Japanese anime is jumping borders to become one of the most popular forms of entertainment around the world.

  • While the Japanese theatrical market shrunk 45% back in 2020, the anime industry only slipped 3.5%.
  • That values the anime industry at a whopping $21.3 billion.
  • The biggest global theatrical hit that year was the anime Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, bringing in $504 million in ticket sales.
  • That success has continued into 2021, with the top films at the Japanese box office all being animes.

Parrot Analytics noted that global demand for anime films and TV shows grew 118% in just two short years (a trend that has been increasing for well over a decade), thanks in part to the fanbase expanding beyond “socially awkward misfits” — called “otakus” in Japanese culture — to the mainstream in cultures all around the world.

Connect the niche
And as streaming subs start to peak throughout the U.S. and Europe, entertainment companies are looking to Asia — and Japan in particular— as the new growth engine.

  • Netflix announced that it was producing 40 new anime projects this year — a good investment when over half of its subscribers have watched anime.
  • Sony acquired anime streamer Crunchyroll for $1.2 billion from AT&T and then merged with Funimation to create the largest anime-focused service.
  • AMC bought Sentai Holdings, the parent company of anime streamer HIDIVE, just this past January.

And with anime conventions and events being one of the few genuine crowd-pleasers (seriously, they’re popular everywhere) the genre may be one of the few that can have crossover physical/digital success.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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