Anime & Local Live Action Lead Japanese Streaming Sector


Local content, notably anime and live-action shows, is key to subscriber acquisition in the Japanese streaming sector, per new data from Media Partners Asia.

The Japan Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics report analyzes data collected by MPA’s AMPD Research platform in partnership with Japan’s Intage. It tracked content trends among 25,000 online users in Japan. Japanese anime scored 45 percent of measured premium video viewership in 2022 and some 30 percent in SVOD. Japanese live action accounted for 22 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of the premium and SVOD first-title consumption. U.S. content was at 16 percent and 13 percent, with Korean shows at 12 percent and 17 percent.

Growth has slowed considerably in Japan’s SVOD sector, with 3.1 million net adds in 2022, down from an average of between 6 million and 9 million between 2018 and 2021. The 2022 growth rate is the slowest since 2015.

Commenting on Japan’s SVOD industry, Vivek Couto, executive director at MPA, noted: “SVOD household penetration is still only at 45 percent and there is significant room for growth in the future, driven by anime (largely non-exclusive), premium live action and Korean content and in certain cases, sports. The opportunity going forward for the SVOD category in particular is to elevate the quality of live action content alongside continued investment in licensing popular anime.”

Dhivya T, lead analyst and head of content insights, added: “Licensed local non-anime content contributed a quarter of first-title demand on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix in 2022 while the contribution of local originals to first title demand is starting to grow especially on Netflix with releases such as First Love, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Alice in Borderland season two.”

Premium video viewership rose by 8 percent on the previous quarter to reach 31 billion minutes in Q4. SVOD took a 55 percent share, with AVOD at 34 percent and freemium at 11 percent. The leader in the premium video market is TVer at 29 percent, driven by prime-time TV dramas, variety shows and news; followed by Prime Video at 18 percent; Rakuten TV at 10 percent; Netflix at 9 percent; U-Next at 8 percent and Abema TV at 7 percent.

Prime Video remains the leading SVOD player, with 16 million customers at the end of the year. Netflix has a 15 percent share of the SVOD space with 7.2 million customers. Per MPA, Disney+ ended 2022 with 3.4 million subs. U-Next, a leading local player, ended 2022 with some 3.7 million subs following its acquisition of Paravi.