The news: In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix anime head Kohei Obara revealed that half of Netflix’s 222 million worldwide subscribers watched “some” anime on the platform in 2021, and that time spent watching anime increased 20% globally.
How we got here: Netflix dipped its toes into anime in 2016, and since then, the format has become a global phenomenon and another major battleground for streaming services.
It’s not just TV and streaming that have benefitted from the global rise of Japanese animation. Spinoff films of popular series have gone toe-to-toe with superhero blockbusters, with “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” earning $30 million since opening in North America last month.
Why anime, why now? Anime’s surge in popularity isn’t happening in isolation, but overlaps with several global media trends and streamer interests.
Looking forward: As streamers fight tooth and nail to gain ground in key markets, expanding into anime allows them to capture a global audience, access a massive backlog of content, and produce critical hits at relatively lower cost.