Kadokawa announced it’s mid-term management strategy for the period of March 2024 to March 2028 on Nov 2, 2023. Based on what was revealed in the strategy, Kadokawa plans to establish a wholly owned in-house anime studio, as they positioned anime as one of the driving factors of growth during the next four fiscal years.
The publishing giant believes that the spread of video distribution worldwide has led to an increase in demand for the animation IP, which in turn is giving a push to the global demand of manga, novels, products, events, and other areas related to animation.
Kadokawa is therefore aiming to capitalize on this media mix (Japanese term for transmedia franchise, where a piece of content gets represented across multiple media including games, merchandise, comics etc.). However, in order to earn revenue from media mixes, they will need to the window rights to anime works in a wider range of fields.
In order to do so, they will have to invest more in the production of an anime. In traditional cases, merchandising rights and other rights of an anime were owned by separate entities who came together to form the production committee which invested in the anime’s production process.
However, as a part of their mid-term management strategy, Kadokawa is looking to strengthen their licensing strategy. They have outlined the promotion of “utilizing all rights for anime” at the forefront of their licensing strategy. And in order to keep hold/acquire of all the rights of an anime, they will have to bear majority of the production costs.
Kadokawa’s plans, however, do not end there. Along with investing more, they also plan to enhance the production process of anime. This included extending the length of the anime produced by increasing the number of seasons and episodes per title. By prolonging the lifespan of the works, the publishing giant believes they can steadily progress their licensing business.
But then, the current shortage of studios and personnel was a roadblock in their plan. In order to overcome this, and facilitate their long term plan, they have decided to set up a wholly owned in-house studio which will focus on producing anime.
Presently, Kadokawa has investments in anime studios like ENGI, Kinema Citrus, among others.
In addition to these investments, they plan to establish new studios with 100% funding and engage in acquisitions through mergers and alliances, aiming to expand production within the group.
Kadokawa currently invests in over 40 titles annually, but their in-house anime productions within the group are around 5 titles. They are aiming to increase this to a set-up capable of producing 20 titles per year.
Source: Animation Business Journal