ITmedia reported an interview with Itwata Keisuke, the managing director of AT-X TV channel. He said Japanese Animation is declining after it reached the peak in 2006 and there is little hope for the growth of the anime market. Here is the chart of the sales of the anime industry from 2003 to 2007.
Blue: Sales in Japan
Red: Sales outside Japan
Black: Total Sales
Created by dtshyk based on ITmedia's data
The reasons for the decline in the market of each region are as follows: 1. Japan
The number of the viewers of TV steeply decreased. 40% of the TV companies went into the red in September 2008. The online streaming is still too unreliable to replace the airing on TV. 2. US
The ratings of the TV anime programs went down. US TV companies are now reluctant to air Japanese animation due to its unpopularity and violent contents. Iwata described that the DVD sales in US are "miserably bad". The business model based on the TV airing collapsed because of the prevalence of fansubs. 3. Europe
The situation is relatively better than that in US but the opportunities to air anime are scarce because most of the European countries put emphasis on developing their own culture and business. 4. East & Middle East Asia
The anime market in Asian countries was expected to expand but the economic recession ruined it. Most of the anime-related projects announced by the investment authorities in the middle east suffered setbacks now.
To survive the crisis, TV Tokyo started to collaborate with Crunchyroll and provides subbed NARUTO and Gintama one hour after the airing in Japan. The $7/month pay channel collected ten thousand users in one month. TV Tokyo said they intended to discourage the fansubbers, who are competing to upload the subs first.