Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: April 14th, 2019
Alibaba Invests in Bilibili
The e-commerce company Alibaba invested up to an 8% stake in streaming giant Bilibili, making it clear China is taking streaming seriously by this point. Bilibili also has heavy investment in the anime industry as well, leaving an uncertain future to the level of Chinese influence this could leave on the market. Bilibili actually quadrupled its number of paying users in 2018, which shows they are a growing powerhouse; but their gaming revenue have actually dipped thanks to increased Chinese state censorship, which shows we have to be weary of a more involved Chinese presence in the anime market.
Funimation and Bilibili
Funimation has also announced a partnership with Bilibili to acquire anime licenses for the “Next few years” and that it applies to the United-States and China.
Source: Anime News Network
Ultraviolet Closing Down
The digital video platform will close down on July 31, meaning many people are about to lose access to a lot of titles from their library unless they go through an elaborate process to link their account to another retailer. This should serve as a warning for anyone embracing the all-digital future where super-conglomerates have control over your library with no possibility of a personal copy you truly own. If you want to know what steps to take to protect your library, you can check out this article.
No Border Studio Opens
A new studio going by the name Studio No Border has opened in Japan and has already been credited with work on Carole & Tuesday. The studio is French in origin and part of a growing trend of having foreign investment and interest on Japanese soil in the anime industry from the US, Europe and China. It’s anyone’s guess how much of an impact, if any, these foreign projects will have on the anime industry.
Source: Anime Land
Home Video Sales Dip in Japan
In 2018, domestic DVD and BD sales decreased by 24.2%. The market was down 5.1% compared to 2017.
Source: Animation Business Journal
Home Video has New Sales Targets
Nao Hirasawa said that during the early 2000s, a series that sold well could move 100 000 copies for its first release but that today, selling 4000 – 5000 copies is considered a hit. According to the man, investors and studios will start looking more towards streaming sales and overseas sales as time moves on, with the length of episodes for series possibly getting shorter (We have been getting more short series with every season already) and that, in my opinion, should be of concern for multiple reasons to anyone who actually enjoys the industry as it is.
Manga Market Doing Splendidly
Physical and digital manga sales increased by 1.9% in 2018, with a market value of US$3.96 billion. Although compiled physical volumes did decrease by 4.7% from 2017 and physical magazine sales dropped 10.1%, digital compiled book sales increased 14.8% and digital magazine sales increased 2.8%. The digital market accounted for 44.9% of the manga market in 2018. Overall, while trends are changing in the digital age, manga is still doing well.
Gonzo Suffers Financial Loss
The animation studio Gonzo reported a loss of US$5.35 million for 2018.
The Greenwood company, which operated the visual novel label Light, has dissolved. Many of the projects under its care, such as Silverio and Koioto Se Piace, are planning to find new companies and continue as planned.
Minori Shuts Down
Adult game developer Minori ceased operation following their release of Sono Hi no Kemono ni wa (Released January 25).
Xebec Transfers to Sunrise
On April 1st, IG Port transfered the production operations of its Xebec studio to Sunrise for a cost of US$2.69 millions.
Source: Animation Business Journal
Ufotable Being Investigated
A search of Ufotable’s offices was conducted on March 12 as part of an investigation into alleged tax evasion. It is alleged that founder and president Hikaru Kondo has been receiving revenue from the merchandising sales directly.