AnimeLog, a collaborative YouTube channel by several production companies for anime (also known as AniLog), are reportedly interested in expanding the channel with English and Chinese subtitles.
The YouTube channel launched earlier this August, as a collaboration between Toei Animation, Kodansha, Nippon Animation, Tezuka Productions, Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, and Shinei Animation. Variety reports that the group aims to grow that 30 companies and 3,000 titles, and 300 million views per month by 2022.
While the service has shown episodes of Black Jack and Future Man Conan to users in Japan, there are plans to bring subtitled content in English and Chinese. This could potentially be a massive blow to localization and licencing companies, with the shows producers cutting out the middle man and delivering content directly to western viewers.
There have been concerns about how much supporting the officially licenced translation supports the original creators. In 2019, anime director and character designer Terumi Nishii stated in an interview that despite claims by some non-Japanese companies giving large investment or support to the anime industry, that the animators themselves had not noticed any major changes.
How the channel aims to monetize themselves is another question. So far older anime has been shown, begging the question if new releases and simulcasts (launching the streaming of an episode when it first broadcasts in Japan) would be viable. Much like broadcasting in Japan, sponsors (or rather adverts with YouTube) is how AnimeLog reportedly operates.
The disdain for some western licence holders (due to changes made to the material, use poor subtitles or dubbing, or otherwise being objectionable to consumers) may also be the reason for piracy of anime continuing long after programs became available officially in the west.
On August 15th, KissManga and KissAnime had reportedly shut down. This may have been due to the increasingly strict laws on piracy in Japan, though recent laws applied specifically to manga.
A hypothetical free streaming service with only adverts and sponsorship to endure (that directly supports the shows creators) may be the best alternative to tempt people away from piracy. A representative of Analyzelog, the company in charge of AnimeLog’s operations, reportedly stated that the service does just that.
“There exists a problem of illegal video distribution service these days, but ‘AnimeLog’ will distribute only officially-licensed animations and operate as a safe channel that families can enjoy together.”
Around 2017 it was also discovered a European Union report had been suppressed by the EU itself; as the 300 page report concluded that it did not “show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”
However, it should be noted that report focused on European media, rather than all media worldwide. The report also noted that there was “an exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally.”
While Kadokawa and Toei Animation both operate their own YouTube channels, the Animelog partners reportedly claim joining forces can expand their audiences and advertising revenues.
Do you think direct streaming from Japanese creators is the future of anime in the west? What could aid this endeavor? Sound off in the comments below!