The global content marketplace: Audience demand for anime

Image: One Piece (ワンピース)Toei Animation

Anime – or animation in the Japanese style – is one of the more global subgenres of TV content, enjoyed by viewers in almost every country in the world. Hardcore fans of anime outside of Japan have been importing their favorite series for decades first on physical media and later digitally, with fan groups meticulously translating each episode. Unofficially, of course.

Fans of anime strongly embraced the Internet as a far easier and quicker method of consuming the shows. The appetite for anime online is so strong that there are several dedicated streaming sites that only carry anime titles. In fact, Crunchyroll, the best known of these sites, started their subscription service in 2006, the year before Netflix started their streaming service.

As fans of anime are global it makes sense for production to focus on the global marketplace, too. One example of this is western animated series taking inspiration from anime, such as Nickelodeon’s hit western animation Avatar: The Last Airbender, which takes many stylistic cues from Japanese animation.

Even further than that, in the past few years the production of anime series outside of Japan has accelerated, with the most prominent recent example being the Netflix US anime series Castlevania, which was at one point the most popular SVOD title in that country.

As anime is such a worldwide phenomenon, in this article we will use Parrot Analytics’ global TV demand data to get an overview of the subgenre.

Which countries outside Japan have the highest demand for anime titles?

By normalizing for the population of each country, we can apply true cross-country analysis to the demand for anime: Taking the average daily Demand Expressions® per 100 capita in each country for all anime titles over the past three months (April-June 2018), and then aggregating by country, we can see where in the world the biggest concentrations of anime fans are outside of Japan itself:

Easily topping this list with 0.95 Demand Expressions per 100 capita (DEX/c), the USA is the world’s most enthusiastic international market for anime. The USA has more than double the demand of the country with the next highest demand for anime titles, the Philippines.

As well as the USA, North America is also represented in this list by Canada, which is the ninth-best market for anime in the world in the period analyzed.

Japan’s close geographic proximity to other Asian countries has clearly aided the spread of anime in that region, as four of the top ten countries for anime demand are in Asia; these are the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

On the other side of the Pacific, LATAM countries are also keen on anime as a region with three countries from there on the list. These are Mexico, Brazil and Chile which are fourth, fifth and tenth respectively.

The sole European entry in the top ten countries for anime demand is France.

Which anime titles are in demand in the countries that like anime most?

Now that we have a list of the countries besides Japan where anime is most popular, the next step is to see which anime titles have the most demand in these countries. In particular, to see if Japanese-produced anime is still most in-demand, or if any internationally-produced anime is currently in high demand. To determine this, we will examine the countries that were in the global top five for anime demand except Japan itself.

Starting with the USA, we observe two entries for the long-running Naruto franchise, along with one entry for the similarly long-running Dragon Ball franchise. One Piece, currently airing its nineteenth season, is second in the U.S. while the top five is rounded out by relative newcomer My Hero Academia which just began season 3.

Elsewhere, the French greatly prefer Dragon Ball to other anime series, as that franchise takes both top spots in the country. Dark fantasy series Tokyo Ghoul is also highly in demand in France.

Tokyo Ghoul also finds favor with Mexican audiences, but the top four anime series in this market are from the blockbuster franchises Dragon Ball and Naruto:

Naruto also takes two places in the Philippine top five, appearing in fourth and fifth. However, for the three months analyzed the country had more demand for One Piece than any other anime series. My Hero Academia and Tokyo Ghoul complete the top five for this country.

In closing, it is notable that all the series that appeared in the individual country top fives are Japanese in origin. While we fully expect international series to start challenging this status quo as the number of productions increase, for now Japanese anime is the clear favorite of fans.

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