Head of top Anime TV station Animax, 滝山雅夫 / Masao Toyama, has said his greatest fear is that anime will lose popularity amongst the young, and seems set on trying to rectify matters, if in a modest way.
His statement was made amidst celebration of Animax’s tenth anniversary, with a long and glorious stable of anime (Dragonball, Gundam, etc.) stretching out behind it, mostly being distributed on a tried and true fee based model.
The comments are made against the backdrop of the gradual disappearance of anime from free to air television (in fact there is basically no anime on free terrestrial broadcasts and little on satellite: premium cable is required to view it through official channels). It seems he is of the opinion that he needs to ensure a steady influx of new patrons by providing a free entry point to the world of anime.
“Anime is gradually disappearing from golden (prime) time on terrestrial television. There is also a lack of works possessing real longevity. Cable may supplement terrestrial broadcasts, but at this rate programming will dry up entirely.”
Animax has many viewers raised on anime during its “golden age”, now into their thirties and forties. But now there is a danger that today’s children reach adulthood without ever coming to like anime. “That scares me the most. As a specialist channel, if we don’t enlarge the anime industry Animax is done for.”
Regarding the distribution and airing of new title ウルトラヴァイオレット：コード044 / Ultraviolet Code 44, based on American IP, he seems to be trying to take these sentiments to heart: “To improve sales of the PPV broadcast, first the original is put out. But since we can’t really expect much of a boost to customers with this measure alone, we’re also distributing it ‘free’ via satellite, as we don’t want to overlook anyone who might want to watch some anime.”
Via the Tokyo Shimbun.
Interesting that nowhere does he mention the Internet – how very old media of him. A few deals with the likes of Nico and YouTube could probably see a new market emerge for high definition digital downloads, but somehow I doubt this has entered into his thinking…