The renowned British newspaper Financial Times published an article with the title "Japanese anime goes global: Sony's new weapon to take on Netflix", highlighting the success of the Kimetsu no Yaiba multimedia franchise and the recent actions of Sony to fully enter the streaming services industry.
«(Omission) As the COVID-19 pandemic forces the entertainment world to rethink delivery to an audience that now consumes most of its content on small screens, the multi-million dollar question is whether the anime industry and its production annual of more than 107,000 minutes has what it takes to make Kimetsu no Yaiba the rule, rather than the exception.
“For many industry executives, the stage is now set for Japanese animation to go truly global. A recently revitalized Sony is competing with Netflix and the global streaming giants to uncover the untapped treasure of lucrative anime content. “We were forced to accelerate efforts on all three fronts of digitization, global expansion, and streaming services. It's now or never, ”said George Wada, Senior Vice President of Production I.G, the company behind hits like Ghost in the Shell and Shingeki no Kyojin. "We are on the verge of whether Japanese animation gets bigger or smaller" ".
“On the surface, the Kimetsu no Yaiba phenomenon is just another Japanese madness coupled with the merchandising boom. From Pokémon and Power Rangers to Super Mario and Dragon Ball, Japan has run frenzied multi-million dollar franchises in popular culture, leveraging intellectual property on an industrial scale many times before. But this particular mania, say analysts, academics and executives directly involved, is different. Beneath Kimetsu no Yaiba there are a series of changes in the structure, ownership and ambitions of the Japanese anime industry of $ 24 billion a year.
“The list of the 25 most valuable media franchises in the world is headed by two Japanese giants, Pokémon and Hello Kitty, with respective historical sales of 92 billion and 80 billion dollars, and also includes nine other Japanese brands. But behind that success, analysts say, has been a tendency to under-exploit the anime goldmine and a failure to address the many structural problems and heavily criticized labor practices that lurk behind the most popular titles.
“Sony has made an aggressive advance in the anime industry space in recent years, highlighted by the $ 1.2 billion purchase of AT & T's anime streaming service Crunchyroll in December 2020. Executives at the industry says the Japanese group has acquired a global infrastructure with three million subscribers that will allow it to compete on an equal footing with the four biggest streaming giants: Netflix, Amazon, Disney and WarnerMedia's HBO Max.
“Lacking the scale of global rivals, Sony has deliberately pursued a different strategy of buying anime-specific streaming services with strong local content and committed fans to replicate the success it has had in the video game industry, with its base users of 114 million PlayStation 4 owners. The agreement with Crunchyroll follows the acquisition of a 95 percent stake in US anime distributor Funimation Productions in 2017 and last year's $ 400 million investment in the China's distribution platform, Bilibili ».
Source: Financial Times
© THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2021