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Anime Becomes One of the Fastest-Growing Content Genres in the Past Two Years

Lauren Forristal

Data from Parrot Analytics shows that global demand for anime content grew 118% over the past two years, making it one of the fastest-growing content genres by that metric during the pandemic. The overall global demand that anime shared across all content genres was 7.11% in December 2021, up from 4.2% in January 2020.

This surge in viewership has led to more deal-making in Hollywood around anime. Just this last week, AMC Networks bought anime distributor and streaming company Sentai Holdings, which owns HIDIVE, an anime subscription streaming service.

Another example is Sony Pictures Entertainment acquiring free streaming service Crunchyroll for $1.2 billion from AT&T last year. Crunchyroll is one of the largest U.S.-based anime streaming services, and Sony has plans to make it even bigger once it merges with Funimation, another anime streaming service.

Crunchyroll is most known for its library of popular anime series such as “Jujutsu Kaisen,” “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,” and “My Hero Academia.” Upcoming titles being released to the platform this year include “FreakAngels,” “Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2 ,” “The Irregular at Magic High School: Reminiscence Arc” (will also be on Funimation), as well as “Blade Runner: Black Lotus,” among others.

Meanwhile, Netflix is busy developing a new anime series inspired by “Scott Pilgrim,” a hit graphic novel series. The company has previoulsy reported that over 100 million households globally watched at least one anime title on its platform between October 2019 and September 2020, an astounding 50% increase from the year prior. Other anime titles hitting the service in 2022 will be “Kotaro Lives Alone,” Season 2 of “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045,” “Thermae Romae Novae,” “The Orbital Children,” “Kakegurui Twin,” and lots more.

Last fall, Disney+ released an original anime series, “Star Wars: Visions,” where the world’s best anime creators get to celebrate the world of “Star Wars.” It has also announced plans to release more related titles in the future.

Related: Best Streaming Services for Anime Fans

Julia Alexander, senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics stated, “As global demand for anime continues to grow, so does the need for better accessibility, curation, and selection…Streaming platforms take on the role of acting as a discovery tool for subscribers, and ensuring their library is in line with customers’ growing demand is crucial to continued success, both in finding new customers and keeping current ones satisfied.”

For streaming companies facing increased competition and saturation in the U.S., anime offers a new way to lure new viewers, and reengage existing ones.

Michael Dempsey, general partner at Compound, a seed-stage venture fund, and an animation expert said, “It’s definitely more mainstream… It’s not as contained towards niches as it used to be. I think that’s probably because there’s just a broader, continual hunger for animated content.”

As the appeal for anime broadens and becomes more mainstream, fans will flock to the services with the most content of that genre.

“There’s a lot of really amazing content in the category that appeals to people, even people that might not define themselves as anime fans,” said Tal Shachar, CEO and co-founder of Infinite Canvas, who previously worked at The Chernin Group when it owned a majority stake in Crunchyroll. “In previous eras, they might never been exposed to the content or not enough of it,” Shachar said.

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