Japan’s Toon Business in Slump Says Report

A new doom-and-gloom report from The Media Development Research shows that the animation business in Japan only made $2.24 billion in 2008′that’s a $300 million drop from a record $2.54 billion in 2006. The number reflects both domestic and foreign movies, TV shows and DVDs.

Variety‘s Tokyo-based reporter Mark Schilling points out that this drop occurred despite the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s blockbuster hit Ponyo, which took in $163 million and was the country’s No. 1 movie at the box office in 2008.

Meanwhile, on Japan’s TV networks, the number of animated shows has been decreasing for the past few years, in part, because of the global economic slump. The DVD market dropped 5.1% in 2008, according to the Japan Video Association. The report points to the drop in the number of rental stores and the increase in free online downloads as one of the main reasons behind this trend. MDRI seems a silver lining in the arrival of Blu-ray discs and the growth of animated content for mobile phones. But isn’t that what everyone has been hoping for in the past couple of years?