Anime Saturation in Today’s Consumer Market

Anime’s digital growth via subscription services and influence of online ordering vastly dwindles physical store presence.

The vastness of anime content expands across a multitude of online channels, apps, and subscription services in order to virtually feed our need to stream. Crunchyroll, Funimation, Netflix Amazon Video, and HIDIVE established themselves as companies where their influence impacts both digital and physical markets in offering a smorgasbord of shows for consumers to indulge their insatiable hunger.

While physical stores have suffered in recent years with inventory reduction, this isn’t a bad thing, really. Evidence can be seen in the growth of online ordering where stock in stores have taken on a different kind of shelf life. It’s another sign of life’s constant change of seasons like a pendulum swinging across time.

Crunchyroll & Funimation joined forces in 2017 in order to provide a greater offering of anime content, both digitally and physically. This news brought many fans great joy, and now these streaming giants share hundreds of shows across multiple platforms. Their strategic partnership to keep the anime industry for North America thriving has excelled with new membership subscriptions despite the decline of physical store purchases; not quite the same as a one million power level boost to vested subscribers that Crunchyroll celebrated last year. 

The partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll created a new opportunity for license sharing and rights for home video distribution of Crunchyroll titles like the new Berserk series, now available on both services. Nevertheless, the physical purchasing lives virtually through online ordering. The convenience of titles arriving at one’s door without having to venture to a store makes life convenient. No complaints here.

When it comes to online ordering, Amazon, an e-commerce retailer, changes everything. There isn’t anything the company won’t try when looking to expand its business. Even dabbing in the anime world. Anime Strike’s short lived entry into the virtual anime streaming universe showed the current consumer market’s saturation of already established competition. While the innovative company merged Anime Strike into their Amazon Prime Membership anime consumption continues to soar on the retail site.

Amazon constantly lowers prices on shows, and with their intelligent recommendation suggestions, the possibilities become endless with choices. Amazon is an internet sensation where all anime distributors stock their products within warehouse bins as the global company offers fast shipping, security, sales, and variety to appease veteran fans and market to new ones.

Deciding on what to watch and scrolling through what seems like infinite rows of titles can make any viewer feel overwhelmed. Netflix’s platform of offering anime content adds to its enormous library where much time can be wasted simply skimming through summaries instead of picking a series to commit to. Now, Netflix’s focus to broaden its impact on the streaming anime industry has come full circle with producing its own shows in collaboration with impressive studios many fans have come to know through other streaming media. 

Netflix is mostly known for streaming content in comparison with physical releases. The company, however, has expanded its efforts to bring titles to online ordering for fans as well. Knights of Sidonia is one example of how a show got licensed through home video distribution by Sentai Filmworks, where most of its content can now be streamed on HIDIVE.

HIDIVE launched in 2017 and offers hundreds of titles like all the other subscription services, and many of these titles are from Sentai Filmworks with a cheap subscription fee to boot. HIDIVE continues to grow its library, but the noticeable trend in anime companies backing their products through subscription services, along with budding partnerships for online ordering, illustrates the difference of growth through digital distribution.

The digital market has grown exponentially and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. The dwindling stock of store shelves can be a disappointing view, but the life of the anime industry continues to thrive. However, the amount of content hosted by providers, like the ones mentioned above, can create a conflict of choice regarding where to invest one’s time.

With new shows airing each week, and streaming services jumping on the simulcast bandwagon, much content is now susceptible to streaming. Sites without a subscription fee that stream content for free have risen in the digital ranks as well. Many opinions can go either way on free sites versus paid, but subscription fees can help the industry as a whole and ultimately show support for the artists that produce, write, and draw out each storyline.

Streaming brands like Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Video, Netflix, and HIDIVE provide more than enough content to satisfy a fan’s anime craving. The multitude of anime offerings from various companies can greatly impact a person’s funds, but for any fan of anime, that’s money well spent.