Anime interest has been surging over the last year

With the pandemic pushing entertainment consumption into overdrive, participation in gaming has soared, and this, in turn, has had a positive impact on anime consumption worldwide. Netflix, which has had a successful run with anime based on Castlevania, recently debuted a new anime showcasing Valve’s Dota franchise. The ubiquitous streaming platform reported a 50% increase in households watching at least one anime title in 2020. Additionally, Crunchyroll, which Sony is attempting to purchase for $1.2 billion, added an additional one million paid subscribers in about six months.

Anime may still be considered niche, but its momentum in the world of entertainment is building quickly. As Interpret outlined for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), in the US, anime has seen greater than 30% growth, driven by a swath of new viewers aged 13-44.

To put this another way, Interpret’s New Media Measure® reveals that fully one-quarter of people watching anime today were not watching it a year ago. For marketers seeking a deeper understanding of the anime fanbase, this is a significant data point – 25% of the anime audience is likely comprised of people you don’t know yet.

Even if entertainment binging slows as the pandemic abates, the new viewers of anime will likely continue to watch, producing a larger anime viewing audience overall. Netflix has already renewed its Dota anime for a second season, and it’s likely that more video game IP will be leveraged in the future. Meanwhile, even Marvel Comics is experimenting with special anime variant covers for some of its characters. As Netflix and Crunchyroll ramp up their anime content, could Disney+ look to their Marvel treasure trove for a competitive answer?