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Funimation CEO Discusses Anime's Future with Variety

posted on 2008-03-30 04:46 EDT
Fukunaga acknowledges illegal downloads as one of several gauges of popularity

Variety.com, the website affiliated with the Daily Variety entertainment trade paper, discusses the future of the anime industry with CEO Gen Fukunaga of the distributor Funimation in a March 28 article. Fukunaga describes how his company attained its 27% anime DVD marketshare through market research and a willingness to adapt. "We look at Japanese ratings, sales of the manga (Japanese comics) and the DVD; fan polls in the various magazines. On the U.S. side, we look at the Internet chatter anecdotally, but there are ways of counting what people are downloading illegally. There are sites that'll rank the counts of downloads, and then we look at fan polls. So there's lots of data."

According to Variety.com, DVDs are still the biggest slice of the anime business, but Fukunaga expects that legal download sales will overshadow Funimation's sales of apparel, toys, and other merchandise. The article also quotes IFC channel's executive vice-president Evan Shapiro, who notes that anime companies offer their titles to television companies for relatively inexpensive rates, since television exposure boost DVD sales. CEO Milton Griepp of the ICv2 retail news source adds that anime is becoming more mainstream even as rapid industry changes are causing DVD sales to drop and smaller companies to totter financially. All three agree that the anime's relatively tech-savvy audience are pointing the way for the rest of the entertainment industry.


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