Japanese animation, a.k.a. anime is big business in Japan, and the popularity has spread to Western shores increasingly ever since we got Akira. But as with the movie and music industries, anime publishers have been complaining that piracy is killing their business.Not so, says the Japanese Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI). This government department decided to do a study on the effects of piracy and YouTube uploads on the sale of anime. What they found was that sales were actually increased when these illegal and streaming options were available.The study concludes that:Estimated equations of 105 anime episodes show that (1) YouTube viewing does not negatively affect DVD rentals, and it appears to help raise DVD sales; and (2) although Winny file sharing negatively affects DVD rentals, it does not affect DVD sales.YouTube’s effect of boosting DVD sales can be seen after the TV’s broadcasting of the series has concluded, which suggests that not just a few people learned about the program via a YouTube viewing. In other words YouTube can be interpreted as a promotion tool for DVD sales. Such independent research is an interesting counterpoint to the ongoing calls for more regulation and laws to cover piracy by publishers. The illegal behavior they are fighting against may actually be a key part of selling the content in the first place, or at the bery least it is not having a negative impact on sales.Read more at TorrentFreak and the REITI report on the studyMatthew’s OpinionI wish more independent studies like this would be carried out at the behest of governments. What this now does is give the Japanese government a study to point at when publishers start lobbying for change. The next time someone says piracy is killing the industry this study can be presented and a response requested.What will that response be? Well they can’t really just rubbish the results, counterarguments and examples will have to be presented that prove it wrong. That may be tough to do if the RIETI actually got it right.
Anime piracy and streaming found to increase DVD sales in Japan