Netflix, Japanese animators declare: "We get paid well, but we cut off the wings"

Toyo Keizai, the famous Japanese magazine known in the West as Tokyo Business Today, recently posted an interesting interview on its anime-focused website. Face to face with some prominent figures of the industry in question, a journalist has indeed requested explanations on the role of Netflix.

An insider from a major anime company commented, "There are two main reasons Netflix attaches importance to anime: the first is that western fans may think of subscribing to follow exclusives or recover older series, while the second is that it is very easy to acquire licenses and distribute products in Worldwide. The advantages are remarkable. From our point of view, however, the situation is somewhat different. Netflix pays licenses upfront, so if the anime is a hit Netflix wins, while if it is a flop we win, as we get paid regardless of views".

Receiving a fixed payment is certainly a welcome option for those looking for stability, but it could prove extremely negative if the anime registers important numbers. In this regard, another insider commented: "Netflix executives are very clever in this respect, because they never reveal views recorded by anime. How many viewers watched and for how long? This data remains in Netflix's hands and is his biggest weapon. There is no margin for bargaining because the studios don't know the anime's performance. In this way Netflix can pay a small amount even for a very famous series".

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According to the animator of a famous studio, collaborating with Netflix would also have other negative sides. An exclusive would not allow studios to produce merchandise, video games or home video editions without the approval of the American giant, and consequently would exclude a part of the public. In this regard, the manager of a company spoke, declaring: "The number of Netflix subscribers is very important, but any anime produced exclusively cannot become a hit if it is broadcast on one platform. Think of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, how would it have become a hit if it had only been broadcast on Netflix?".

Many other insiders, on the other hand, have spent positive words, underlining the importance of investments in the anime industry: "Netflix can even pay 50/70 million yen (from 400 to 600,000 euros) episode for a successful anime, and given the growth of the Chinese and Korean market, I think we have a lot of room for further growth of the medium".

It therefore seems clear that the role of Netflix can be considered all in all positive, despite some criticisms related to the impossibility of promoting anime exclusively.

And what do you think of these statements? Let us know with a comment! Meanwhile, we take this opportunity to advise you to take a look at the Netflix releases of June 2020, including the highly anticipated BNA: Brand New Animal.

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