Netflix is betting that more of you will be watching anime in the future.
The company will be partnering with more studios in Japan to bring original anime titles to its platform either later this year or early next year, it announced Wednesday at its 2017 Anime Slate event in Tokyo today. This is in addition to already announced titles like the live-action Death Note.
Anime, a style of Japanese animation that this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, makes for popular watching in Asia, especially in its home market of Japan. But it’s not just Asia where anime is popular, it’s found quite a market in the US. Just yesterday,a majority stake in “Dragon Ball Z” US distributor Funimation for $143 million.
In Japan, more than 50 percent of Netflix users stream anime, making the country its biggest market for anime. That said, it’s the global audience that Netflix is eyeing, as 90 percent of anime viewing on Netflix takes place outside of the country.
“You add up all of that viewing, it represents a significant opportunity for the category,” said Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer. “We expect to grow anime viewing, here in Japan and the rest of the world as we continue to invest in high quality content.”
Currently, South America, France, US, Canada, Italy and Taiwan are some of its biggest anime consumers, so it makes sense for the the streaming service to ride the wave to further increase its growing global subscriber base — it added 5.2 million new customers last quarter for a total of 104 million worldwide. However, it’s doing this with a $20 billion long-term debt.
Instead of spending more on expensive original content such as the $120 million “The Get Down” (which got canceled), looking towards cheaper original content may pay off. Netflix declined to reveal how much it spends on its anime content, though it is spending $6 billion for content in 2017.
Adi Shankar, the show’s showrunner, praised Netflix’s enthusiasm to let creators create. “Making this show with Netflix was the best experience I had in Hollywood,” said Shankar. “They let us make this show for the fans of the game.”
“I was approached to do a live-action in 2012, but I turned that down as i felt that the company involved did not respect the fans, characters or the games.”
More to come…