Wednesday, February 18

TV Tokyo struggling, an indicator for anime industry future?

TV Tokyo's 3rd Quarter profits down; might see red in the 4th quarter due to high Yen's appreciation on overseas market, including the decrease of licensing deals with notable market like USA.

TV Tokyo’s 3rd quarter financial statement showed a downturn compared to the same period the previous year (2007). The dip in profit is particularly drastic, and the hard times the broadcast industry is facing right now reflected in their balance sheet.


One cannot help but notice the similar timing, these quarters shown Japanese economy at its worst right now in other sectors.

A shrill article detailing contraction of Japan's economy

What does this means for anime industry or fandom? Means instead of 40-60 over new series in peak years of 2003-2008 that we seen so far (interestingly some pundits said it is over bloated, like a bubble), it might be culled down to like less than 20 a year in 2010 if this downturn trend continues. Japanese domestic spending has decreased by 0.4 in last quarter alone which in normal English means less consumption of anime which leads to less profit for anime industry. AKA, less anime since majority of anime profits come from domestic consumption and sponsorship synergy.

The fate of GONZO is not unique, one hand experience, instead it is part of current global economy crisis also took the air out of Japanese economy as nation as 60,000 job cuts (something that is unimaginable for Japanese business in 1980s)announced. Famous companies like Sony, Pioneer and NEC see red and shedding workers. Anime is not an insular industry, will feel the real pain soon enough.

Which somewhat links to another story of Rozen Maiden fan Premier Taro Aso have very low public approval rate, spelling doom for his Premiership of Japan.

Higher Yen means more expensive anime DVDs/Blu-Rays for foreign market which leads to less purchases, compounding the vicious spiral. It also means more outsourcing the animation and production to offset costs; might lead to decreasing quality of art and animation of anime. Or becomes less "anime", might offend some purists out there. Remember episode 9 of Macross Frontier?

List of TV Tokyo anime lineups

Note most of the anime in TV Tokyo are geared for mainstream audience, most famous is Pokemon. Now if Pokemon fail to prop up the balance sheet to black, imagine other more matured seinen animes like Rideback, Shakugan no Shana or shows like Tenshi Sunred will fare in near future. Quite grim and I don't blame investors not wanting to throw in money for any project ventures now.

Perhaps the Golden Age of Anime is over?


Anonymous said...

Economic swings are part and parcel of the way of life. You could even say that the economic downturn is the way the system keeps healthy by getting rid of the unworthy business entities.

It is rather sad to hear that GONZO is one of the casualties though.

Sondhi said...

The Golden Age for me, (1995-2005) already passed. Perhaps the downturn will cause companies to retrench and focus more on the core product, producing less chaff and relying less on the moe-collector market. (of course it is likely they go in the complete opposite direction >_<)

While higher production values due to technology have been nice, I've been watching less and less anime over the years because its harder to wade through all the derivative crap