Thanks to the growing popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others among the anime watchers in Japan, the DVD/Blu-ray market for anime is facing a sharp decline in the country.
According to Tadashi Sudo, a journalist reporting on the animation industry, while the popularity of streaming platforms has affected the number of young adults who watch anime on TV, the latter still plays a significant role in catching the interest of the people. However, the Bluray/DVD market for anime is in a much tougher spot.
Based on the data collected by the Japan Video Software Association, the anime Blu-ray/DVD market in Japan experienced a sharp decline of 41.7% in 2022, as compared to the previous year.
The annual market size amounted to 26.97 billion yen, the lowest since the Japan Video Software Association began conducting surveys. The previous record low number being 32. 3 billion yen in the year 2020.
It is also the first time the market fell below 30 billion yen.
In comparison, the anime streaming market in Japan amounted to 154.3 billion yen in 2021, as reported by Association of Japanese Animations. In the same report, the domestic videogram revenues (DVD and other media included) stood at 46.6 billion yen and 66.2 billion yen for the year 2020 and 2021. AJA’s report on videograms is also based on the data provided by Japan Video Software Association.
Sudo points out that due to the shift in affinity towards streaming, there are already new anime productions that do not release video software for sale. This is because viewers can still watch these new releases by using one of the available streaming platforms.
However, there is a growing concern that with the decline of physical medium like DVD and Blu-ray, anime titles will not be available in the long term for viewing. This is due to the fact that streaming services will not host an anime once its streaming license expires.
“For older works, some people may try to find old DVDs or Blu-rays. However, what if those video software releases never existed in the first place?” Sudo noted in his blog. “With the ability to access a greater number of works at a lower price, streaming has brought richness and diversity to the world of visual media and anime. However, at the same time, it may have lost a different kind of richness.”
The Japan Video Software Association has been releasing the “Video Software Market Size and User Trends Survey” annually in May for the past few years.
In their data collection, they do not have a separate category specifically for “anime.” Instead, they divide it into categories such as “Japanese Animation (General)” and “Japanese Animation (Children’s),” as well as “Foreign Animation.”
Of these, the numbers in the first two categories give specific figures for Japanese anime.