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Exclusive-Netflix inks Japan studio deal in anime push -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This illustration shows a smartphone with the Netflix logo on it. It was taken on April 19, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Dawn Chmielewski & Sam Nussey

LOS ANGELES/TOKYO – Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ) announced Tuesday a multi-film partnership with Japan’s Studio Colorido. The streaming company is expanding its anime offerings and looking to Asia as a source of growth.

Netflix will co-produce three feature films together with Studio Colorido, including “Drifting Home”, that premieres in September. This is because it has been investing more in original anime. It will be shown in domestic cinemas.

Netflix has been a big fan of anime in Japan (where almost 90% of its viewers watch it) as well as globally where nearly half the users tuned in last season. Competitors like Disney and Amazon (NASDAQ:), are also trying to provide such content.

Kaata Samoto, Vice President for Content in Japan, stated that it is essential to first win locally in order to win internationally.

Netflix reported that it had lost its most loyal customers in the Asia-Pacific region in the quarter’s first-quarter earnings. According to Netflix, the company was experiencing “nice growth”, including in Japan where it had 5 million users as of September 2020.

Koji Yamamoto, Studio Colorido president, stated that Netflix has a wider audience than those who are anime lovers.

Studios favor stories that have characters pulled out of everyday lives by an extraordinary turn of events. This is the case with “Penguin Highway”, which was released in 2018. It features an elementary school boy who investigates the unexpected appearance penguins in his hometown.

This family-friendly content fits in with Netflix’s Japanese strategy to increase its content offerings.

Sakamoto stated that they are increasing their investment in Japan content. Sakamoto added, “We are ramping-up our investment not only in volume, but also in a variety genres and formats.”

Netflix also has agreements with local broadcasters for long-running content like “Old Enough!” Nippon TV. This show features very young children running errands while they are being disguised by Nippon TV staff. It has created buzz online.