New Report shows booming US market for anime Streaming

The market for streaming anime is mushrooming: news of corporate deals, show acquisitions, and the effects of all this on the animation studios themselves is coming thick and fast. So it's a good time to take stock of what's happening in this space and how we got here.

Enter “Anime Streaming Platform Wars,” a new report edited by Aurélie Petit at The Platform Lab in Montreal's Concordia University, which researches the impact of digital platforms on culture and society. Download a free copy of the report here.

The document focuses on six anime streaming platforms in North America - Crunchyroll, Funimation, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Retrocrush, Hidive - each of which gets its own mini-chapter. The authors provide summaries of the companies' business strategies and histories as anime distributors, providing detailed stats and quotes from executives.

In the process, the major stakes in the American anime market come into focus. Subjects covered include the possible implications of the Crunchyroll-Funimation merger, the effects of Netflix's enormous investment in the industry, and the role of vtubers - virtual Youtubers - in marketing.

The report pays particular attention to whether, and how, these companies engage with related media and fan practices: merchandising, conventions, and so on. As the introduction notes, “From figures to social messaging stickers to novelizations, anime is dependent on a complexly intertwined milieu, ecology, or zone. This legacy impacts how streaming firms approach anime.”

The Platform Lab is led by Marc Steinberg, a prominent anime scholar who has written deeply about the “media mix”: the way anime properties are developed across many media beyond animation. Its report is well researched and clearly written, and worth reading in full.

Image at top: N-ko Mei Kurono, a vtuber who serves as Netflix's anime ambassador