Anime & Manga News

Severe Estimation of US Anime Market in 2010

by dtshyk
Oct 7, 2010 6:55 AM | 64 Comments
According to ICv2's report "Internal Correspondence No.73", this year's DVD & Blu-ray market in US is estimated to be $160 ~ 200 million, which is 40% of that in 2005. ICv2 said it's difficult to make a precise estimation because Walmart hasn't revealed their sales data.

Chart: Anime DVD & Blu-ray Market in US (2005 - 2010) no data in 2008 and 2009


Anime!Anime! speculates that the media sales of anime for "core" fans have dropped much severely because the sales of anime for general public (eg. Pokemon, Dragonball, Studio Ghibli anime) have been relatively unchanged.

Source: Anime!Anime!
ref. Anime Media Sales Keep Rising In Japan

20 of 64 Comments Recent Comments

I buy posters and figures more than dvds lately :/
I aint paying forty bucks for twelve episodes.
Im always for the look out for shows under thirty for a whole season anyway.

Jan 21, 2011 8:27 AM by lame-desu

i only buy series i really love or series i can get super cheap.

Jan 21, 2011 8:24 AM by Count-Chocula

I'm not very well read/educated in economics, but here's my thoughts on this as a teenager. I don't have a job yet, so whenever I come into money (birthdays, holidays, etc.) I usually try to spend it on anime or manga. But the money goes fast with manga being at $10 or even $12 now and three or four episodes of anime being at $20. Not willing to part with my cash that easily. (And there's so many series I want to buy! Dx)

For anime, I usually wait until a complete series is released and its price is lowered or those S.A.V.E. series come out, and then get it through Amazon where often the prices are slashed a bit. But it can take a while for complete sets to be released/cheapened/etc., especially when waiting on newer series (Black Butler for instance), so I buy anime series maybe twice a year. And the only anime I ever seen in stores is really mainstream stuff like Bleach or Naruto, and I'm not into them. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough or I should try shopping around elsewhere, but as I said, teen that only gets money for birthdays and holidays.

And with the recession, money is even scarcer and hell, I'm not so sure I'll be able to get a part-time job this summer. So unless the prices of individual volumes of anime can be slashed more or complete sets made more available; and those slightly cheaper Ultimate Editions or Vizbig manga series are continued to be made available, I mostly resort to scanlation and fansubs. =T If I had the money or a job, I'd definitely be buying more anime and manga.

I do feel crappy that I'm contributing to this downfall of US anime consumption, and believe me, I do love that feeling of getting my hands on my favorite series in a nice DVD, dual language, special features and all, but at those prices, I'd rather spend my money on a bunch of used RPG games at Gamestop for $5...

Anyway, that's just how it is for me. *sweatdrop*

Jan 21, 2011 8:16 AM by suicune141

Funimation did say they had an increase in profits last year despite a decrease in dvd sales...

Oct 10, 2010 7:57 PM by kkslider5552000

katsup said:
I feel like in general, watching tv shows online (not only anime) is becoming super popular. I don't know many people who own TV series, aand I personally have been buying some recently, at like $20 a season (when they're on sale). I don't think anime would ever ever be this cheap. And to be honest, there aren't any anime shows that are sold in stores that I'd even consider buying.

I just feel like with the recession people are buying less, and on top of that watching things online or getting them through things like netflix is really common now.

When I was in japan it semeed like no one bought anything either -- they all got it from rental stores like Tsutaya, or other vhs rental things. I feel like US is moving towards this kind of mentality for tv shows and other things. Who needs to buy it when you can get it online? or netflix it? That's my mentality at least, and a bunch of others. (to the extent where some of my friends don't own cable and just use netflix)
Indeed. Perhaps what the companies really need is to change their old ways of judging how well their shows are doing. It's pretty much proven that you can't judge how well they are doing just by looking at tv ratings and DVD/BD sales. After all, Netflix and internet simulcasting have been taking a major share away. Maybe they should judge the true state of the industry AFTER adding the income from the non-traditional media.

Oct 10, 2010 2:40 PM by Leon-Gun

I feel like in general, watching tv shows online (not only anime) is becoming super popular. I don't know many people who own TV series, aand I personally have been buying some recently, at like $20 a season (when they're on sale). I don't think anime would ever ever be this cheap. And to be honest, there aren't any anime shows that are sold in stores that I'd even consider buying.

I just feel like with the recession people are buying less, and on top of that watching things online or getting them through things like netflix is really common now.

When I was in japan it semeed like no one bought anything either -- they all got it from rental stores like Tsutaya, or other vhs rental things. I feel like US is moving towards this kind of mentality for tv shows and other things. Who needs to buy it when you can get it online? or netflix it? That's my mentality at least, and a bunch of others. (to the extent where some of my friends don't own cable and just use netflix)

Oct 9, 2010 11:53 PM by katsup

:fail quotage:

So this is just a matter of media changing. Instead of paying what, 30-40 dollars for 12 episodes, they'll watch it streamed (I'm talking legally here) and pay if they really want it. Something similar is happening with TV and movies, especially with how huge Netflix has become.
:fail quotage:

Thats basically me. The only animes I torrent are ones that aren't available through netflix/hulu yet. I've stopped trying to watch more than 5+ animes at once so this works for me. Theres quite a bit of anime on netflix lately compared to the last time I checked: Samurai Chaploo, Darker Than Black, Outlaw Star, Code Geass R1, One Piece (I'm on Season 03, just to name the ones in my queue so far.

I usually just rip the dvds, as I have one at a time out plan, and store them on the hard drive and put the dvd back in the mailbox the same day.

Oct 8, 2010 11:09 PM by ApolloFC

ebsixtynine said:
Slax- counter to last arguement you have people like me who won't buy a set until they've been able to watch it buy torrenting it. I'm not shelling out cash for something I have no clue if I am going to like or not. Kinda the same reason why I don't go to the theater.

Yes, this is a common counterargument, and yes, I would have acknowledged it *if* I were arguing- but I'm not arguing, I'm explaining. I didn't say "X therefore Y" (argument), I simply said "this is X"(explanation).

That aside, there is always the counterargument to your counterargument- you say you'd not buy anime, but that's the opinion you constructed in a world where you have the ability to torrent. The opinion you form in a world without the internet would almost unquestionably be different. You can be accused of misreporting the facts to make sure the world stays in a state that favours you above the retailers. Now, the obvious counter to this is "don't call me a liar"- but then you can be accused of just saying you're not a liar to make your argument stronger, not because it is factually true. Loop ad infinitum.

This infinite unresolvable loop is why I didn't bother stating it before.

Of course, the view I personally take is FAR different from anything raised in this thread thus far, but its probably too technical for here.

Oct 8, 2010 6:52 PM by slax

Slax- counter to last arguement you have people like me who won't buy a set until they've been able to watch it buy torrenting it. I'm not shelling out cash for something I have no clue if I am going to like or not. Kinda the same reason why I don't go to the theater.

Oct 8, 2010 5:05 PM by ebsixtynine

kiragotyou said:
Now, I don't think its just myself that trusts the basics of Economics but it seems like the marketing for anime publishers think its some silly superstition. ~_~

Just for completeness's sake, I'll fill in the gaps in this analysis:

Firstly is the question of supply- anime costs money, eg: to dub and to purchase the rights to, etc. While I won't go into the detail of the market structre, (ie: the fact that monopoly suppliers are involved here) it is suffice to say that the companies buying the rights (and selling the DVDs) are limited by a lower bound on the price they can offer- if it goes below what they bought it for, they go broke.

Second is the question of elasticity. Companies profit maximise. Profit is: (Price-costs) X Quantity. If you lower the price by 10% and your sales go up by 5%, you've lost money.

To illustrate:
Now, I'm not asserting this is what actually happens, but it shows why people crying for companies to lower prices isn't as one-sided as they'd like to believe.

Usui said:
If torrents were to be removed completely only a small percentage of those people will actually BUY or subscribe to a legal streaming site.

Again, this is indicative of the one-sided arguments often forwarded by proponents of getting stuff for free (and don't we all love that!). But (even if true) this point is actually quite irrelevant. It doesn't matter what percentage of torrenters would buy goods- it is the question of people who would buy goods that torrent. - if 50% of the people who used to buy goods decided that buying goods was dumb and they could get it for free via torrenting, that's a deathblow to the industry, even if they only make up 0.001% of people who torrent.

Oct 8, 2010 3:53 PM by slax

In all seriousness, though, I don't have the money to buy anime like I did then. These days, 99% of my income goes towards bills and food.

Oct 8, 2010 12:30 PM by therubicon

American say Anime's too expensive lol

I actually wish the US market dies and the Japanese companies will take over the distribution world-wide (by adding subtitles to their DVDs and region unblocked-online streaming)

Oct 7, 2010 10:30 PM by DNF

Hypeathon said:
kkslider5552000 said:
also yeah there's absolutely no reason to still be buying anime at stores considering Righstuf's deals.

Unless you don't have a credit card.

that was my excuse until I found out it allows mail orders too

Oct 7, 2010 8:59 PM by kkslider5552000

kkslider5552000 said:
also yeah there's absolutely no reason to still be buying anime at stores considering Righstuf's deals.

Unless you don't have a credit card.

Oct 7, 2010 8:51 PM by Hypeathon

this is a "no shit sherlock" topic

also yeah there's absolutely no reason to still be buying anime at stores considering Righstuf's deals.

Oct 7, 2010 8:46 PM by kkslider5552000

60$ for 13 eps....
hope they learn

Oct 7, 2010 8:21 PM by Captain-Z

I'm not surprised to see the major decline. As many have said, anime is just ridiculously overpriced. I remember buying all three seasons of Rurouni Kenshin for a bit over $300. The Evangelion series was another $200, I think. Now, if I want an anime, I buy it used. First place I check is the local "Otaku Hobbies" and then one of the second-hand video stores around here. I will not buy a series new anymore. I may make an exception for the Blu-rays as I've found quite a few movies online at a reasonable price and I have yet to see one used.

Oct 7, 2010 6:30 PM by MagicWookie

Hearing people complain about the high price of anime these days should be appreciate of the prices now, than they used to be.

Paying $30 for half a set, I feel is a huge price difference and a deal when not to long ago, you would be paying that $30 for a SINGLE dvd. Considering that most companies would release anywhere from 6 - 7 volumes per series ( I'm looking at a typical 26 epidose series ) you're looking at $180 - $210 for a single series. Why would I want to go back to that? I am much happier with the way prices are set now. Is anime still expensive? Yes, but so are other forms of media which I think have already been made clear by others.

Oct 7, 2010 6:04 PM by Sir_Inqed

Leon-Gun said:
Of course this is a broad generalization, but fair-priced anime is few and far between. Maybe they should start looking at their sales methods and pricing before blaming the core fans for their blunders.

If we're talking about a broad generalization or whatever, what you automatically believe comapnies say, "shame on you anime fans for not buying our stuff! Shame, shame, shame!" Seriously that whole, "you've brought it on yourselves, not us" notion is wearing itself a little thin. It not as if any of these people don't already know that either some people can't buy the stuff, or that not all anime fans are die-hard DVD collectors or that some don't even realize scanlations and fansubs are technically illegal or that there are such DVD boxsets of your favorite Japanese animated shows out there. It's becoming a little moronic at this point to honestly believe the people who are part of these companies don't listen to anime fans or are too stupid to notice or whatever.

Leon-Gun said:
Try to buy anime from 2-3 years ago, it will still be $30-$40 dollars per volume.

- Nabari no Ou released last year by Funimation for $50 in 2 parts. Now it's released as a complete set, all 26 episodes for $60.
- D. Gray-Man parts 1,2,3, & 4 released individually for $50 in 2009. Now they're combined into 2 season sets for $50, $60 if you get them on blu-ray!
- Lucky Star released in single discs from 2008-9 for what, $20-25? Now in 2010, they've been released as a complete collection for about $36 at Best Buy.
- Darker than Black, same thing. Single discs throughout 2009 for $20-25. Since this past may, complete set has been released for $50-60.
- Hetalia parts 1 & 2 being released for $27!
- All 4 box sets of Yu Yu Hakusho were repriced AGAIN to a fricken $20 each!

Like I said before, I get how for some people anime are a pricey luxury product. But don't pretend that the value is cheaper is at a snails pace. Even though some of these complete sets are now $5-10 more than when in 12-13 episode parts, ultimately, they're still $60 as complete set then when you had to get the individual sets that would total to roughly $100.

And while we're at it, before thinking of arguing back to me about the price problem or just pointing it out over and over again at these forums, try being a bit more proactive about it and ask these companies or anyone who is in the know about the anime market, and could answer your question as to why prices can't ultimately be about $30-40 or whatever ideal price point you had in mind. Seriously, if you're knowledgable enough to know about these things that are a problem for you, then you could figure out where to find answers to your question.

Now I'm noticing everyone's "meh" response to this news, and I'm really believing anime fans as a whole are more cheap than ever. Note, that doesn't mean I'm blaming everyone for having that mentality, so I don't want everyone to come to me arguing, "well it's this company's fault." This isn't about that. If anything, this is about point out all the inconviences within the anime market. Anime DVDs are harder to locate, more anime fans are of a younger age demographic believing the internet is an oven and the Japanese are gods making fresh anime free fromof charge , advertsiing can't happen so easily on television or anywhere outside of the anime-based outlets like streaming website or anime magazines. And it doesn't help that Japan, the people who make this stuff, are in a way devaluing tmany of the shows they make with the moe/loli/otaku gimmicks thrown in without much of a narrative to the stories, thus the "I don't get it" reaction out of casual consumers. And there's about too many of these things no less.

I mean, we have the simulcasting and official streaming websites thing, so more people are becoming aware that these shows are actually owned by companies and are part of an legal market. There's a plus there. Though I'm not totally sure what companies can actually do that would work beyond that.

Oct 7, 2010 6:00 PM by Hypeathon

Part of the reason, in my opinion anyway, it's becoming harder and harder to find places to actually buy it in a lot of areas.

Where I live for instance, 2 or 3 years ago Best Buy had a full section of nothing but anime box sets and movies. Along with a couple "islands" that displayed them. Wal-Mart and Target at least had the most popular stuff coming out. Bleach, Naruto, etc.

Now I go to those stores and it's almost non-existant. Wal-mart and Target it is non-existant. Best-buy which had a rather sizable selection at one point has now dwindled down to just a small section of it. Last time I was in there they only had 10 different shows and those were just the most popular ones. Again being Bleach, Naruto, and a few Code Geass singles.

Alot of people don't like buying things on the internet still. I'm one of them. I like being able to walk into a store, go through the selection and pick something out. Granted I live in a "smaller" area, but 9 times out of 10 I find better selection in used stores than I do trying to buy something new.

Oh and anyone who says new releases of box sets are not expensive, well you are crazy. $50 is the average for a single volume of Shikabane Hime in the US right now. That's not the full series. You want the full series? You have to shell out $100 for 26 episodes. That's insane. That's just an example. It's like $20-$30 for single DVDs of Code Geass unless you catch them somewhere on sale. That's much for like 4 or 5 episodes. Bunch that up with the fact that there is a recession and you shouldn't at all suprised sales are way down and the use of torrents or Crunchyroll is increasing.

Oct 7, 2010 4:50 PM by ebsixtynine

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