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Netflix rides Japanese anime wave with original content

The company is partnering with Japanese anime studios.

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MUMBAI: Netflix has found a way to stave off competition from upcoming streaming giants Disney and Apple. The company is betting on Japanese anime such as Ultraman and Eden. According to a report in Mint, Netflix is also eyeing award-winning anime from Studio Ghibli such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. It may even get the entire streaming rights for Studio Ghibli in Japan.

Mint quoted Netflix director Japan and anime John Derderian as stating that Japan is among the “top two creators of stories in the world with Hollywood”. Studio Ghibli has resisted the move to OTT and still prefers to release in theatres and physical format. However, with streaming becoming more popular, Netflix has grabbed a chunk of viewers from the country and hopes to do the same in other parts of Asia.

Netflix has seen increasing popularity for Japanese anime outside its home country and aims to fuel that. Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America are the key markets.

Disney+ is expected to offer more content for a lower price given its huge library. Netflix will have to invest in original anime if it wants to retain and grow its subscribers. It has tied up with five animation studios. OTT also gives the animation industry more control over the content. The idea is to make five or 10-year deals so that studios can invest in content and people.

But it has competition since Amazon also released an anime Blades of the Immortal. Netflix’s Ultraman was an animated reboot of a classic Japanese show. It was developed along with Kenji Kamiyama. 

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