In recent years Netflix has made huge waves in the anime licensing and distribution business. While Netflix never releases viewer numbers, it is quite clear from their actions the experience with anime has been positive. Since Knights of Sidonia first made Netflix a name in anime, the distributor has become far more bullish on the medium even as other deep pocketed American companies have walked away from it.
Recently investing millions of dollars to secure rights to various shows from multiple genres, including the very well received Devilman Crybaby. However, according to ANN Netflix seem to be going even further beyond. As they have just announced what appears to be a Production Partnership with mega Japanese studios BONES and Production I.G.
This is interesting as Japanese production committees are notoriously hard to join for outsiders, even established anime companies like Funimation have only recently been allowed to join. By entering into a production agreement Netflix effectively becomes co-owner of the series it works on and for the first time would indeed have a “Netflix Original” anime.
Furthermore, this seems like a direct strike at rival companies most notably Funimation and Crunchyroll. As Studio I.G and BONES are not only large and prolific studio’s they make hits. For example mega shonen hit My Hero Academia is BONES’ while fellow smash hit Attack on Titan is WIT Studio’s. What this means for existing series and licensing deals is unknown, but I have a feeling change is in the works.