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Teikoku Databank: Record 30% of Anime Studios Were in the Red in 2018

posted on by Alex Mateo
Despite 8th straight year of record revenues by 256 companies

The financial research firm Teikoku Databank published a survey of the anime production industry on Wednesday, and reported that 30.4% of anime production companies were in the red in their final profit and loss for 2018 — the first increase in three years and the highest percentage in the past 10 years.

The survey also revealed that 23.2% of the companies saw decreases in their revenues. 34.1% of the companies increased their revenues, the first drop in this percentage in two years. Among studios that are primary contractors or major subcontractors, 35.6% reported an increase in revenues. These studios had an average revenue of 1.663 billion yen (about US$15 million). Among specialty studios, 54.7% reported a decrease in revenues.

The total revenues of anime production companies in 2018 was a record 213.173 billion yen (about US$1.96 billion). This was the eighth consecutive year since 2011 that the companies collectively set a new record in total revenues. Teikoku Databank attributed the increased total revenues to major production companies securing an appropriate amount of production and continuing to improve the production volume, despite a shortage of human resources and high outsourcing costs in the industry as a whole.

Teikoku Databank gathered data from 256 anime production companies. About 90% of the companies are located in Tokyo. 32.4% have five or fewer employees in 2019, and 34.0% have 6-20 employees. (In 2018, the percentages were 33.7% and 32.5%, respectively.) 60.1% of the companies are small businesses with revenues of less than 300 million yen (about US$2.8 million) in 2019, which is not a significant change from last year.

The per-studio average revenue in 2018 was 843 million yen (about US$7.8 million), an increase of 8.1% from the previous year. It was the first time since 2006-07 (11 years ago) that the average company's revenue increased for two years in a row. The average peaked in 2007 with 992 million yen (about US$9.2 million). The average had been on the decline since then due to an increase in start-up companies and the outsourcing of anime production to other parts of Asia.

Teikoku Databank noted that six of the companies it studied filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and five more ceased operations or were dissolved. Teikoku Databank attributed the bankruptcies to lower contract unit prices, and labor costs due to a shortage of human resources, increased payment costs to subcontractors, and common instances of limited cash flow.

Sources: Teikoku Databank, @nifty News

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