According to ASCII.jp, Masuda Hiromichi, the former executive director of Madhouse Studios
, said that fansubs and the shift of the worldwide trend toward 3D anime have become the major obstacles for Japanese anime producers to establish a business model outside of Japan.
1. Even Naruto cannot make money
The most successful case of exported anime has been Pocket Monster. It made huge sales in the early 2000s however most of the profits were from character goods and games. As for Naruto's case, the main merchandise is video media, but most people are just satisfied with watching free videos and never spend money on the DVDs. The popularity of Japanese anime has continued to rise, but overseas sales of anime in 2009 dropped by 51% compared to 2006.
2. Small-sized producers are helpless against fansubs
It's impossible to carry out a thorough legal action against unauthorized streaming and file sharing. The yearly sales of a major Japanese anime company are almost equal to Walt Disney's yearly expenses on anti-piracy measures.
3. Cooperation with Crunchyroll didn't work well
We did try to go along with fansub groups by making a contract with Crunchyroll. We had expected Crunchyroll to take actions against unauthorized sharing but they couldn't. They are also a small-sized company like us. Many of the titles are simply incompatible with the simulcast because the production of each TV episode usually completes just before the airing time in Japan.
4. "Fansub as free publicity" is unreal
There is an idea that Japanese anime producers can take fansubs as free PR methods and can make money by selling goods instead of DVDs, however it's not such a simple business to sell official goods overseas. The license contracts and the establishment of the sales channels take more time and energy than the sales of video media do. In the meantime, pirated goods appear and dominate. Moreover, the goods market for the core-fan-oriented anime is way smaller than that of kids' anime. We have to rely on the video media business, which without a doubt conflicts with the free fansubs.
5. 2D anime is getting obsolete
Hollywood has fully adopted 3D anime technology. The demand for 2D anime won't grow anymore. The mass-production of 3D anime is no match for the inefficient production of 2D anime.