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Japan's Digital Video Market Topped Physical Video Sales for 1st Time in 2019

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Paid digital content grew 21% to 240.4 billion yen

The Japan Video Software Association (JVA) and Digital Entertainment Group Japan (DEG Japan) released on May 27 their report on the video market in Japan from January to December 2019. The report revealed that the Japanese video market was worth a total of 563.8 billion yen (about US$5.23 billion), a 0.2% increase from 2018. The market encompasses physical home video sales and rentals as well as paid digital content, including streaming, digital sales, and digital rentals.

For the first time, paid digital video content took in more annual revenue than physical home video sales. Paid digital video content amounted to 240.4 billion yen (about US$2.23 billion), a 21% increase from the previous year and the first time this category rose above 200 billion yen. The category was 59.7 billion yen (about US$547 million) in 2013, and it topped 100 billion yen for the first time in 2016 with 125.6 billion yen (about US$1.15 billion).

By contrast, physical home video sales were 197.6 billion yen (about US$1.811 billion), down 6.2% from the previous year, and down over 30% from its peak of over 300 billion yen in 2007. The rental market was 125.9 billion yen (about US$1.153 billion yen), down 18.4% from the previous year. It was about one-third its peak of 360.4 billion yen (about US$3.303 billion yen) in 2007.

Japan's overall video market had been declining until it fell to 480.2 billion yen (about US$4.416 billion) in 2012. However, the JVA (with DEG Japan) began including paid digital content in the report in 2013, and has reported a growing market since then.

Amazon Prime Video led subscription streaming services in Japan in 2019 with a 53.5% of the subscription base, with Netflix at second place at 20.1%, and Hulu Japan at third. The Amazon Prime Video and U-NEXT streaming services report that Japanese anime was their most-viewed category of videos, while Netflix and Hulu report overseas drama as their most-viewed category. Japanese anime was the third most-watched category for Netflix.

The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) revealed in April that the internet distribution market for anime in 2018 overtook the home video market in Japan for the first time since the survey on internet distribution started 16 years ago. The JVA had reported in March that Japan's domestic anime DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales for general audiences, excluding rental releases, decreased by 0.8% from 2018.

Sources: JVA's website, Animation Business Journal (Tadashi Sudo)

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