Paper: YouTube Views Appear to Raise TV Anime DVD Sales
posted on by Egan Loo
Tatsuo Tanaka, an associate professor of economics at Keio University, posted a discussion paper titled "Do Illegal Copies of Movies Reduce the Revenue of Legal Products? The case of TV animation in Japan" last month. The paper details the research that Tanaka conducted on the effects that the video-sharing site YouTube and file-sharing program Winny had on DVD sales and rentals for television animation programs in Japan.
Tanaka was a faculty fellow in the Japanese government's Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry (RIETI), which hosts the paper. However, Tanaka emphasized that the paper expresses his own views and does not represent the views of RIETI.
Tanaka chose to study television animation programs because their episodes have a standard length, and the large number of programs made them a ideal subject for quantitative analysis. Out of 111 anime titles listed, 105 such as Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Major, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Soul Eater, Vampire Knight, To Love-Ru, Macross Frontier, and Kodomo no Jikan were shared on Winny. 58 of them were also on YouTube.
According to Tanaka's findings, YouTube views increased DVD sales, while Winny downloads decreased DVD rentals. A 1% increase in YouTube views correlated with a 0.25% increase in DVD sales. In particular, Tanaka said that the effect was clearer for programs that had already stopped airing on television. An 1% increase in YouTube views also correlated with a 0.08% increase in DVD rentals, but this increase was statistically inconclusive.
A 1% increase in Winny downloads correlated with a statistically inconclusive 0.06% increase in DVD sales. However, an 1% increase in Winny downloads correlated with a 1.11% decrease in DVD rentals. According to Tanaka, these results indicate that Winny downloads are used as a substitute for DVD rentals, but not for DVD sales.
In his conclusions, Tanaka suggested that companies encourage online streaming similar to the YouTube model. He added that individual companies should use their own discretion on how to handle these issues instead of acting as a "cartel." Tanaka advocated that companies experiment through trial and error to find viable solutions, which cannot be done if they just resort to copyright protection organizations to strengthen copyrights.