The Anime Industry Earned a Record 2 Trillion Yen in 2016

The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) released their yearly anime industry report and it shared some good news – the industry is worth a record 2 trillion yen ($17.5 billion).

This marks the third consecutive year of record growth for the anime industry. Last year, it was reported that the industry was worth 1.83 trillion yen (16.1 billion).

The AJA attributes the growth to international streaming licensing rights, which has been on the rise since 2014. Holistically, international streaming is one of the largest revenue sources for anime – beating out Japanese viewership and home video sales.

34.9 billion yen ($306 million) were attributed to oversea sales, which is a record high. More than half of the revenue came from the Chinese market, which has been credited for the success of streaming rights since 2014 by the AJA.

Chinese streaming sites, like Bilibili, are in a “licensing war” to snatch up titles. While it’s led to increased revenue, the AJA cautions that this may be a bubble about to pop.

However, the report cautions that the Chinese market may be a bubble on the brink of popping. The AJA warns that geopolitical tensions, including the continued Senkaku / Diayu Island feud and North Korea’s missile tests, could disrupt business deals.

Another cause for concern is a 2006 Chinese law, which prohibits foreign animation from primetime airing as a way to promote the Chinese animation (donghua) industry. Currently, the law only affects TV stations, but potential online enforcement would lead to a decline in licensing from the Chinese market.

Touken Ranbu
Home video releases of stage plays, like ‘Touken Ranbu’, tend to top the overall DVD and Blu-ray sales charts.

On a positive note, the AJA highlights live events as a source of growth. Live events, which include stage plays and anime cafés, have grown every year since 2013. In 2015, live events brought in a record 52.3 billion yen ($459 million). It’s worth noting that merchandise revenue from live events is not included in the category and would push this figure even higher.

Your Name

The AJA also gave a small nod of approval to Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) for earning 16.4 billion yen ($144 million) at the Japanese box office. They praise Your Name for finding financial success but noted that the movie was a small factor for the overall growing industry.

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