- Domestically produced titles accounted for almost 75% of retail video revenues in 2014.
- Almost 60% of retail BD revenues were generated by animated titles, while the retail DVD market is dominated by music titles.
- Feature films are popular on BD rental but otherwise under-represented compared with other key world markets.
Japanese consumers continue to buck the global trend when it comes to what they choose to buy on physical video. Domestically-produced titles accounted for almost 75% of distributors' revenues from sales of packaged media to consumers in 2014, according to IHS analysis of the latest data from the Japan Video Software Association (JVA). It seems Japanese consumers still do not buy feature films on video: non-domestic movies (which includes the vast majority of Hollywood product) only accounted for about 10% of revenues (9.7% of DVD revenues and 10.7% of BD revenues), while even when domestic Japanese movies are added the figure only rises to about 15% (a further 6.9% of DVD revenues and 4.6% of BD revenues).
TV programming on disc accounted for a similar proportion of revenues on DVD (14.5%, of which 5.7% was domestic, 2.9% from other Asian countries and 5.9% from other international markets) but only 5.2% of BD revenues. Children's titles, the other key driver for DVD sales in the west generated just 7.2% of DVD revenues (2.1% on BD) according to the JVA data.
Instead, for Japanese consumers BD is predominantly a format for adult-oriented animation, with almost half (45.9%) of distributor revenues from the format being generated by the sale of domestic anime-style content. According to the JVA a further 11.6% of BD revenues were driven by non-domestic adult animation, a figure which is 5x higher than the 1.9% share achieved by this sub-genre in 2013, despite the fact that these sales were generated by just 52 titles, down one third on the 75 released in the previous year. Including animated titles aimed at children in the analysis shows that in 2014 an incredible 58.5% of Japanese distributor revenues from BD were driven by animated content. On DVD the equivalent figure was 22.4% with adult domestic animation accounting for most of this (15.8%).
The biggest genre on DVD, by contrast, is music, which generated over a third (34.3%) of all distributor revenues from sales of the format for the third consecutive year (plus 18.2% of BD revenues). In both cases the titles almost exclusively featured domestic, rather than international, artists. These figures do not include karaoke which, perhaps surprisingly to some, barely features in the consumer DVD and BD market.
On the rental side, feature films accounted for 86.7% of revenues from BD in 2014, with almost one third of this being generated by domestic titles, including Eien no zero and The Trick Movie: The Last Stage as well as two titles apiece from hit franchises SPEC and Ruroni Kenshin, the latter being a live action adaptation of a popular manga (comic book) title. On DVD, the JVA data shows feature films accounting for just 34.1% of distributor revenues from rental, with TV programming generating 33.7% and adult animation 22.3%.
Clearly Japan's anime sector is hugely important, and a key driver of the physical video business in the country. However, closer analysis of the JVA data helps explain at least some of the apparent discrepancies between Japanese tastes and those of consumers in other countries.
Perhaps inevitably, the huge importance of the adult-oriented animation sector in Japan also translates into strong demand for some of the mainstream animated titles produced by Hollywood each year. In other countries such titles are usually classified as feature films (by virtue of their theatrical release) or sometimes as children's titles. In Japan, however, they are classified as international adult animation. Thus the 2014 video release of Disney's Frozen, which sold over 3 million retail copies in Japan, and the fact that it was released as a BD/DVD combi title (known in Japan as MovieNEX) explain not only the huge leap in this sub-genre's share on BD, but also why it was not matched on DVD (where the same sub-genre experienced a decline in market share from 1.2% to 0.7%).