- If you’ve noticed a lot more anime on Netflix recently, that’s because it’s part of Netflix’s strategy to fight against Disney.
- As the launch of Disney+ gets closer, movies and TV shows owned by Disney might be leaving Netflix.
- Netflix will have to rely more on its original content and anime could give Netflix a big advantage. It’s partnered with several Japanese production houses to produce five original shows.
- WATCH NEXT: Why Hollywood adaptations of anime movies keep flopping
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: This is the Netflix Originals category. You’re probably used to seeing a bunch of new shows when you scroll through, but have you noticed a lot more anime recently? It’s not just because you watch “Aggretsuko” on your lunch break. Netflix’s Director of Anime Taito Okiura said it planned to add 30 new anime series that year, and the company has already announced over a dozen anime series coming in 2019. Adding tons of content might sound like business as usual for Netflix, but all of this anime could actually be Netflix’s secret weapon in its fight against Disney.
The Netflix versus Disney arc has already begun. Disney’s own streaming service, Disney+, will launch in 2019. As the launch of Disney+ gets closer, more and more Disney content has been leaving Netflix. There was a time when a new “Avengers” movie was almost guaranteed to show up on Netflix, but that’s no longer the case now that their distribution deal has ended. Because Disney owns so much content, Netflix could lose big names like Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and even 20th Century Fox, and Disney isn’t the only company launching their own streaming service. WarnerMedia, the parent company of The CW, HBO, and DC, is launching a new service in 2019. So besides Disney’s content, Netflix might also have to say “goodbye” to films and shows owned by WarnerMedia, like “Friends” and “Riverdale.” As more entertainment companies start their own streaming services, Netflix will be forced to rely on its own original content, But just like Midoriya cleaning up the beach, Netflix has been busy.
Over the past few years, Netflix has ramped up production of original content, producing more than five times the number of shows in 2018 than in 2016, and analysts think Netflix could spend around $US15 billion on original content in 2019. For comparison, HBO usually spends around $US2 billion. In addition to its live-action shows, Netflix has added original anime series, like “Castlevania” and “Devilman Crybaby,” and they have plenty of anime classics, like “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “Bleach,” but Netflix isn’t just buying a lot of anime, they’re changing the way deals are made in the anime industry.
Normally, several different companies negotiate together to produce, fund, and distribute a show. That way, the risk is distributed across all the companies. Netflix, on the other hand, is willing to take on more of the risk on its own. In March, Netflix announced partnerships with three Japanese production houses, adding to the two partnerships it already had. These production houses will create five new anime series for Netflix. Working conditions in the anime industry can be strenuous with long hours and slim margins. Many are hoping that direct deals with Netflix could allow for greater creative freedom and larger profits for production houses, and because Netflix is available in over 190 countries, it’s possible that having these anime series on Netflix could bring in a broader audience. But why is Netflix putting so much focus on anime specifically? Anime could be a big differentiator between Netflix and Disney+.
Disney’s original content doesn’t include any anime, and Disney has said that their service will be family-oriented. So it probably won’t include mature content seen in shows like Netflix’s “Devilman Crybaby.” Having an entire category of content that Disney+ lacks could be a huge advantage for Netflix, especially since demand for anime has continued to grow over the last decade, but not everyone is happy about Netflix announcing that they’re gonna combine with all of this anime.
Gurren Lagann: We’re gonna combine? They’re gonna combine. They’re gonna combine!
Narrator: Funimation’s President Gen Fukunaga heavily criticised Netflix when it acquired the rights to stream “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Fukunaga and others worry that good anime series will get buried in Netflix’s large library instead of getting the larger release they deserve, and Netflix isn’t without competition in the anime streaming space. Anime streaming giant Crunchyroll, now owned by AT&T, boasts 45 million users and 2 million subscribers. In March, Crunchyroll announced an expanded partnership with Adult Swim, allowing Adult Swim to air more of the content available on Crunchyroll on TV. A similar agreement allowed Adult Swim to air “Mob Psycho 100” last year. Hulu also boasts an impressive anime library, and it has even acquired exclusive streaming rights to “One Punch Man” season 2, and now that Disney owns a 60% stake in Hulu, they might have an opening to the anime world after all.
Netflix’s anime journey is less of a Netero versus Meruem and more of an Eren Yeager versus a world of titans.
We’ll have to wait to see the broader impacts of Netflix’s anime investment, but all this content is definitely good news for anime fans. There are fewer barriers than ever for fans across the globe to get into new anime series. There’s going to be a lot to watch in 2019. Our My Lists won’t be getting shorter anytime soon.
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