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Project Anime: Global 2020 Business Track Highlights

Examining the Data, Growth, and Future of the Manga Industry

“Print books are very much alive,” proclaimed McLean (Executive Director/Industry Analyst at The NPD Group) during her panel at Project Anime: Global 2020. Drawing from NPD Bookscan, Pubtrack Digital, and Bookscan License Reporting datasets, McLean shared U.S. manga market data prepared exclusively for Project Anime: Global 2020. While 2020 is not over yet, it is projected to be the best year ever for the book industry.

Joined by Ben Applegate (Director of Publishing Services at Penguin Random House) and Dallas Middaugh (Co-Founder/Executive Editor at Mangamo), they delved into a data-rich discussion on why the comics and graphic novels category significantly outperformed the general book market in 2020 and how manga is a key component of that growth.

According to McLean, manga has the second largest footprint in comics and graphic novels and is 3x the size of the superhero genre. The growth in the manga market is especially exciting since it largely represents new readers. Looking at the top ten titles of 2020 shows a clear correlation with popular anime titles, which Applegate confirmed with anecdotes from Penguin Random House and Kodansha on how they developed publishing and box set strategies to appeal to anime fans. 

All three agreed that there is an opportunity for growth among casual fans to expand their consumption. “The growth…over the past three years is nothing short of phenomenal,” states Middaugh, “We haven’t seen increases like this for well over a decade.” Applegate also cited progress in the manga market among other genres. “It’s not just the big titles that are growing,” he said, “Everyone is enjoying the fruits of the market growth.” 

Watch the full session on VOD to learn more. Plus, check out the NPD Books Manga Recap Report, created exclusively for Project Anime, for the full data insights. All Project Anime: Global 2020 content will be available online to registered attendees until December 11. Register now for exclusive VOD-only access, available through November 27.

Transforming Fan Engagement into Campaign Content

Through the power of social media, brands now have virtually unlimited potential to connect with their followers and fanbases. Not only does this allow them to keep a pulse on their communities, it also encourages active participation and engagement that brands have begun utilizing to shape their own content. 

“Especially in times like now when it’s unfortunately difficult to interact directly with your market segment at events and trade shows, brands must depend on digital content more than ever,” said moderator Joanna Metoki (Founder, Tasty Design Studio). “Like they say, content is king.”

Marshall Wright (Sr. Director of Audience Development at Funimation), Mary Franklin (Head of Events at Crunchyroll), and Jessica Merriman (Co-Founder, MomoCon) sat down with moderator Metoki at Project Anime: Global 2020 to chat about the ways they’ve been engaging their audience.

All three brand representatives cited that authenticity and care for the community are absolutely necessary, and fans respond best when they feel like they’re being acknowledged and given ownership. 

“Something I love about the anime fandom is that they really want to share in community,” said Franklin.

The panelists also cited the helpfulness of utilizing some sort of social media management software in order to track social media performance and trends to identify campaign opportunities preemptively. “You want to find something that is not only going to track conversation around your specific branded search terms but also allows you to get a competitive look,” recommended Wright.

Measurements of a campaign’s success may include quantitative metrics like clicks, reactions, page views, and shares, but it can also include quantitative factors like sentiment and conversation. Each panelist shared about campaigns they felt performed successfully, such as the very first virtual Crunchyroll Expo, Funimation’s “A Decade of Anime,” and MomoCon’s “Cosplayers on Ice” events. 

“A lot of our successful campaigns during COVID have really come from people who are sentimental about not being able to go to events,” shared Merriman. 

Hear Marshall Wright, Mary Franklin, and Jess Merriman’s full insights on fan engagement and content creation in their panel, now available on VOD to registered attendees until December 11. Register now for exclusive VOD-only access, available through November 27.

All sessions from Project Anime: Global 2020 will be available on-demand through December 11. Register before November 27 for VOD-only access to all panels.


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