In 2000, the anime industry was on the brink
of what looked like a global takeover, and was pushing live action movies to the side. However, trouble began to take hold just a few years later, when labour issues
involving long hours and low pay, along with a sharp drop in anime DVD sales
, began to cause serious trouble for the industry. Although some government officials pinned their hopes
in beefing up exports in order to breathe life into the economy, to industry insiders the situation looked bleak
and possibly unresolvable
using traditional models. However, other avenues - such as the internet, and even internet piracy - were studied for their economic effects. The results?
from the Japanese Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry released in February 2011 came to the conclusion that pirated episodes of anime showed on YouTube did not hurt the sale of anime DVDs, but helped increased sales of them. In addition, in 2011 - when sales of DVDs as a whole dropped by 13.5%
- sales of anime DVDs went up by 5.3%
, ending a five-year slump.
At the same time, this is just the domestic market. Overseas, the increase of available material on the internet does not appear to have helped sales, as a report the same year from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) showed anime DVD sales in America had been on an almost steady decline
since 2003. Sales have been so low, in fact, that even giants like Bandai Entertainment
are shuttering their doors in North America, and Funimation voice actor Kyle Hebert believes piracy has a direct effect
on lagging sales.