Anime Film Industry Revenue Dropped by 38.3% in 2017

The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) held its seminar for its “Anime Industry Report 2018” which examines industry trends from the year 2017, on December 5. The AJA already released a preview for the report on November 28, but the AJA posted the full report summary on December 10. The Anime! Anime! Biz website also posted a report about the event on December 10.

Drop in Anime Film Sales

Revenue from anime films dropped by 38.3% in 2017. Meanwhile, the streaming market grew by 13.0% and the live event market grew by 16.3%.

Journalist Tadashi Sudo, a panelist at the seminar and co-author of the report, commented on anime films’ reduced total revenue of 41 billion yen (about US$362 million) in 2017. He clarified that the dramatic decline was largely due to the influence of Makoto Shinkai‘s breakout hit your name. in 2016, and that excluding the film from the 2016 revenue would result in a more average figure for that year. However, he added that the 2017 revenue was still not necessarily a good number, and noted that creators such as Shinkai, Mamoru Hosoda, and Hayao Miyazaki did not release films in 2017.

Increase in Overseas Sales

Dentsu Consulting president, CEO, and senior managing director Yūji Mori noted that overseas revenue has tripled in the past three years. He noted that the figure for overseas revenue does not include overseas-funded projects that only premiered overseas, and it may not include overseas revenue from smartphone games or live events. Therefore, he believes true foreign growth may be higher.

In 2017, the overseas market grew 29.6% over the previous year and the domestic market had a 5.5% decrease. The chart below shows the domestic market with the solid line and the overseas market with the dotted line.

Last year’s report noted the growth of the overseas market, particularly in China, the country with the most contracts with the Japanese animation industry. After China, the countries with the most contracts were South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.

Number of Works Created

The speakers also noted that the number of anime produced in 2017 went down to 340 works from 356 in 2016. Asatsu-DK content strategy director Naofumi Itō speculated that the production capacity for anime in Japan may have been reached. Itō also said that the companies funding anime production might have become more cautious due to a general lack of clarity on how to recoup rising production costs. He cited that home video sales of 20,000 units was a benchmark for recouping production costs in past years, but that such sales are now difficult to achieve for most productions.

Character Goods

Revenue for physical character goods amounted to 523.2 billion yen (about US$4.62 billion) in 2017. The figure represents a 7.0% decrease for the category since the revenue of 627.4 billion yen (about US$5.54 billion) in 2010.

Overall Increase

The overall anime market was valued at 2.1527 trillion yen (about US$19 billion) in 2017, an 8.1% increase from last year.

As the chart above shows, the industry has seen growth for the past eight years, and has reached a record high for the fifth consecutive year. The values in the chart represent the market value for each year in units of 100 million yen. (Note: The AJA has updated the numbers for 2015 and 2016. Last year’s report said the market value for these two years was 1.8207 trillion yen and 2.0009 trillion yen, respectively. The organization’s 2017 report states the numbers as 1.8215 trillion yen and 1.9923 trillion yen, respectively. However, the report’s editor Hiromichi Masuda stated at the seminar that the market for 2016 was actually 1.9954 trillion yen.)

The AJA has been publishing annual reports since 2009, when the anime industry was in decline. The AJA also publishes the reports in English a few months after the Japanese report. The association published the 2017 report (for the year 2016) in English in March 2018.

Sources: AJA, Anime! Anime! Biz

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