Does piracy help anime sales in Japan? Study says yes


You've probably heard the common assertion that dirty pirates and fansubs spell ruin for the anime industry. Every time a person downloads an episode of their favorite Japanese cartoon, not only does a baby kitten die, but a revered anime studio (such as the esteemed XEBEC) is unable to feed the poor animators and their families.

However, a recent study in Japan suggests that some forms of "illegal" anime viewing may in fact help the sale and rental of anime series. The study monitored the DVD sale and rental figures for 105 episodes from various TV series, comparing them to downloads of the same episodes from popular Japanese sharing network Winny, as well as the view counts of those episodes on Youtube.

The study found that Youtube viewing did not negatively impact the sales and rentals of DVDs, and may have been increasing said sales/rentals. Winny downloads, however, DID have a negative impact on DVD RENTALS, but not DVD SALES.

Interesting stuff. The study covered only the Japanese market, which makes the information we have on the methodology and conclusions limited, but if I were to guess, the Youtube viewings encouraged viewers to rent or buy for the optimal viewing experience. Winny downloads hurt rentals, since a broadcast rip naturally feels like a permanent free rental, but didn't hurt DVD sales because most anime DVDs come with many extras such as merchandise, de-censored material, new scenes and optimized animation.

However, I'd caution against simply applying this study to the overseas market. The landscape is quite different across the pond, including fans' various means of access. I'd wager that were the study conducted on the overseas market, the results would be quite different.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



Filed under... #anime #industry affairs #piracy #top stories



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