Time to Be Bullish on Japanese Anime Studios Amidst Hollywood Strikes
A new vista of opportunity has opened in the international media scene for Japanese anime studios as Hollywood actors and screenwriters declare an indefinite strike.
With both writers and actors on strike, Hollywood is currently in a state of paralysis. As streaming giants, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and HBO, search for foreign contents in countries unaffected by the strikes, Japanese anime studios have found themselves in the spotlight. Their shows have demonstrated an incredible popularity on streaming platforms and theatres alike, opening a lucrative opportunity for investors.
Hollywood Shutdown: Actors and Screenwriters Walk Out
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), an organization that represents roughly 160,000 film and television performers across the United States, recently staged a walkout that has effectively paused the majority of US film and TV productions. This action marks the industry's most severe disruption in over 60 years. High-profile actors like Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt have voiced their support, notably departing from a premiere in London at the time of the strike announcement.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the main contention lies in profit sharing and working conditions. With the digital era shifting the dynamics of viewership, streaming platforms have grown more prominent. SAG is advocating for a more equitable share of profits in this changing landscape, better working conditions, and guarantees that actors will not be replaced by AI-based performances.
The Rising Sun of Entertainment: Japanese Anime
As Hollywood grapples with internal strife, Japan's entertainment industry is seizing the spotlight. Anime and drama, in particular, are enjoying a surge in popularity.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the anime market size was valued at 3.88 trillion yen (approx. $28.6 billion) in 2022, displaying a steady year-on-year growth estimated to be worth over $60 billion in 2030. Compare this to the annual revenue from the Global film industry, which was $77 billion in 2022.
Anime, once considered a niche, has transcended its subculture status. Its unique storytelling approach, paired with vivid colors and striking characters, resonates with global viewers. The anime TV series "Demon Slayer" is a perfect example of this trend. According to Box Office Mojo, its movie "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Hen" became the highest-grossing anime film in Japanese history, earning 404.5 billion yen domestically and over $400 million worldwide.
According to a study by NPD Group, in the US market, manga and anime titles have a higher market share than superhero comics and graphic novels. Both comics and anime have in common that they are a wealth of ideas from the past, and all major studios are increasing their involvement in creating new hits.
The Business Ecosystem of Anime
Anime's global success has led to a unique business ecosystem surrounding the genre. Popular titles like Demon Slayer generate additional revenue streams through merchandising, gaming, and brand collaborations.
Many companies have been successful in leveraging anime's popularity. One example is Coca-Cola, which embarked on a partnership with the show "BLEACH Millennium Blood Battle," creating a unique campaign and launching limited sales of "Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Soul Blast." The campaign associated with the anime was largely hand-drawn, taking 2-3 months to produce, and offered an augmented reality (AR) experience for consumers. Such strategies not only amplify the appeal of the product and brand but also allow companies to tap into the estimated $240 billion (about 3.3300 trillion yen) anime industry.
Press the image to see the Coca-Cola Bleach commercial
Another example of the anime's commercial appeal can be seen in the collaboration between fashion brand LOEWE and Studio Ghibli. Their Spirited Away-inspired collection was so successful that products from the collection, including shopping bags, were resold at high prices on various platforms.
According to Parrot Analytics, the demand for anime has increased by 2% over the past two years. Currently, there are over 430 anime production studios, making it a major industry. This growth has also been supported by the intricacies and artistic nuances unique to anime, which give it a global appeal.
Moreover, the proliferation of the anime business ecosystem, which includes merchandise, gaming, and various other revenue streams, is influencing the strategies of streaming giants such as Disney, Netflix, and Prime Video. For instance, Netflix revealed in 2021 that more than half of its global subscribers viewed some form of anime content on its platform.
The demand for anime content is global and continues to rise. Even as providers from countries such as China, South Korea, and the U.S. emerge to meet this demand, Japan's dominance in the industry remains unchallenged, thanks to its solid supply of manga content.
The international growth and influence of the anime industry are clear. Its unique, visually captivating style, combined with its ability to spawn multiple revenue streams, make it an attractive proposition for global brands. The recognition of anime as a lucrative global industry rather than a niche market marks the beginning of a new era.
Investing in Japanese Anime
Should any of these companies intrigue you, comment below, and I might just feature them in a comprehensive stock analysis.