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Exclusive Interview: Muse Communication Talks Up Indian Anime Market & Future Plans

Muse Asia Interview

With the Indian anime market experiencing explosive growth, Muse Communication has been strategically expanding its presence in the country. 

Ahead of their visit to the recent Mumbai Comic Con (April 20-21, 2024), Animehunch had the opportunity to interview Wallace, Vice General Manager, and Julia Cheng, Director, India, from Muse Communication. 

The discussion focused on the exciting potential of the Indian anime market and Muse’s plans for the future in the country, including the importance of localized content for the Indian audience, the strategic use of their YouTube channel, and Muse’s overall strategy to capitalize on the burgeoning opportunities in the Indian market.

Note: The following interview has been edited for grammar and accuracy. You can check out the entire video interview by scrolling down to the end of this article!

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Mr. Wallace & Ms. Julia Cheng

Animehunch Team: Muse Communication is primarily known for licensing and distributing services. Can you just deep dive into how you guys got into licensing and distributing services. Do you acquire all the IPs directly from Japan and then stream them globally? How does it work?

Muse Communications: Muse is a company that has over 30 years of experience in the Asian market. And absolutely we acquire rights from the Japanese and then we have accumulated a really abundant content in our library.

We are [one of the] biggest Asian distribution companies targeting the whole Asia market which includes Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and China and Southeast Asia. And right now of course India and Southeast Asia.

Animehunch Team: Muse Communication also has regional dubbed anime in their library. So is that a business idea to get more traffic from the market?

Muse Communication: Of course dubbing is one of our strategies to penetrate into the [Indian] market.

We will take Thailand for example. Right now we have accumulated over hundreds of shows that we have locally dubbed. And then of course for India right now we already started the production, which includes not only Hindi but also [other regional languages] of Tamil and Telugu.

So yes, to enter the market and also provide it to our partners. Because we understand how important the localized language is, especially in India.

Animehunch Team: I just noticed that Crunchyroll, which is one of your competitors, are also listed as your IP providers. So how does this partnership work exactly?

Muse Communications: First of all, we [welcome] Crunchyroll entering the Asian market, which started from years ago.

And Muse has always been one of the biggest anime content providers in Asia. So we have built a strong relationship with Crunchyroll for the past few years.

And it is not only as a content provider, based on the licensee or licensure. Besides that, we are also working on a comprehensive collaboration, which includes online events, offline events, marketing, and basically all aspects that we can support them. And that also includes when we talk about localization on dubbing or materials.

We will do the dubbing in all kinds of languages that are suitable for the market. And then we will provide it to Crunchyroll.

So as Muse, we are also always targeting on how we can support our clients which includes Crunchyroll. So it is basically a win-win collaboration to benefit both of us.

Animehunch Team: India is the second biggest anime market in the world right now. How well do you think Muse is equipped to seize this opportunity?

Muse Communications: We understand that India is one of the biggest countries with the most population. And also, it’s one of the most potential markets [for anime]. As Muse has always been the company that is willing to take the lead and develop the market, we will definitely enter the Indian market with more stress and also our strategy.

Take Comic-Con Mumbai, for example. This is actually the first time Muse is entering India as an exhibitor. And it would be at the forefront in this industry for Muse to do that.

We are expecting to lead the customers and also to explain what anime is. And then show the potential of anime, not only to our partners, but also to the customers.

So Comic-Con is really a big channel for us this time to really show what Muse is doing and then what is anime. And also, our main goal is to raise the entire anime awareness in India.

So when we [talk] about taking advantage or also about the opportunities of India, definitely as Muse, what we have been doing for the past few years in every other market, we will continue to do that [in India]. And we will put more stress in our content and also what kind of advantage we have in the Indian market.

Animehunch Team: Muse India YouTube channel has recently hit 400k plus subscribers. What further plans are there to strengthen your hold in the country through YouTube?

Muse Communication: First of all, Wallace will like to share what YouTube means for Muse. YouTube has always been for 3 purposes for Muse.

First one is content promotion. Second one is fans’ engagement and community. The third one, of course, the most important thing would be piracy accusations, because there is a lot of illegal content out there.

Take Comic Con, for example. When we talk about content promotion and also fans’ establishment of community, fans will know that Muse is entering Comic Con.

And then YouTube is one of the biggest channels for us to interact with them to let them know that Muse is coming. As well as we can promote the content which we acquired from Japan.

So, we see a YouTube channel as more of a promotional purpose. And also it’s a flexible tool for us to not only interact with the fans but also support our clients to track the content to their streaming platforms and then also guide them to watch over there.

Animehunch Team: You just spoke about piracy happening over here in India. What is Muse planning to do to counter that over here?

Muse Communication: We have a lot of experience doing this. India is actually the market that we entered last, but for like 10 to 20 years in Taiwan [and] different territories, we have been strongly collaborating with the original right owners to accuse all the piracy websites [over there.]

And not only do we have our own legal team to do that, we also collaborate with local legal agencies to accuse all the piracy websites. So, if anyone sees the piracy websites, please send a link to us and then we will do our best to raise the legal awareness in the market.

And of course, there are a lot of startup platforms in the market that turn from illegal to legal websites. As Muse has always been the official content provider with the official copyrights, we are happy to support them and to help them go into the right path, to be legal.

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Animehunch Team: You released the Slime movie last year. So, is theatrical release also one of the pathways to get in the market?

Muse Communication: Of course, the theatrical rights are always one of the business categories. For example, last year, we launched the Slime movie in India, which is the first time we entered the Indian market and collaborated with PVR Pictures.

And of course, we are looking forward to having more movie distribution in the Indian market.

Outside of India, of course, this is something that we have been doing and growing a lot. For example, for Spy X Family in January, we have launched it in Taiwan and also some other countries.

After Spy X Family, we have launched a Demon Slayer fans’ engagement in not only Taiwan, but also in Southeast Asia, which is a really big success for us because it has been launched for more than three countries.

We have also launched five sections of fans engagement in Thailand. So we are also looking forward to that in the Indian market.

Animehunch Team: Spy X Family is a title that is available in Hindi Dub over here. Can we expect Muse to roll out more titles in regional dubs? And which titles will those be?

Muse Communication: Of course, there will be more localized versions [of anime] to be expected. we already launched a Spy X Family Season 1 [in Hindi dub]. Spy x Family Season 2, we are really close to do the localization in Hindi.

And then for this year, in 2024, there will be more. Right now for the April Simulcast, Slime Season 3 is launching. A Hindi Dub can be expected for that. And [Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Cour 2] will also be there.

For the second half of the year, there will be Dandadan, and also Fairy Tail, and more simulcast content, [for which] we will have localized languages. And of course, as for Muse, not only the simulcast content, we also have our classic titles to be expected.

So we are doing more dubbing, and more titles will be coming. Please stay tuned.

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