Report: Animation Market in Japan Shrank for 2nd Year
posted on by Egan Loo
The Animation Market Analysis Project of Japan's Media Development Research Institute (MDRI) reports that the animation market in Japan dropped for the second year in a row to 212.9 billion yen (about US$2.26 billion) in 2008. The same research firm had reported that the market peaked at 241.5 billion yen (US$2.53 billion) in 2006, before dipping to 230.2 billion yen (US$2.41 billion) in 2007. These figures cover both Japanese animated works and foreign animated works that are sold or distributed within Japan. MDRI attributed the shrinking market to the sluggish theatrical film business, the decrease in the number of animated television titles, and the drop in the number of shipped DVDs.
While Studio Ghibli's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea film was a hit, the 2008 box office numbers dropped overall, especially for overseas animated works. At the same time, there were less animated television programs broadcasted over-the-air. DVD rentals stagnated, while shipments of animated DVDs dropped substantially.
The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) is another group that reports on the state of the animation industry in Japan. However, AJA calculates its figures primarily from the revenues that the production companies and studios receive. By contrast, MRI calculates its figures from box office totals, DVD sales, and other statistics at the consumer and retail levels. Nevertheless, both groups agree that the market shrank from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2007 to 2008.
According to MDRI, the market was stable from 1995 to 2000, when it grew from 150 billion yen (US$1.6 billion) to over 160 billion yen (US$1.7 billion). The market then grew dramatically over the next six years to 2006's 241.5 billion yen.
In related news, CNN reports on how the Japanese animation industry is dealing with the effects of the global recession. The CNN article quotes AJA executive director Yasuo Yamaguchi, "in-between" animator Nobuki Mitani, Tokyo Animation Institute director Yosuke Shimizu, and Toei Animation animator Naotoshi Shida.
Thank you to David Trescott for the CNN news tip.