The Blue Ocean strategy revolves around the core concepts between Red and Blue Oceans. Ideally, a company will seek a market with no competition, no set rules, in order to make the competition irrelevant. This new market will hold more potential revenue, as the customers haven’t been tapped, and they have yet to be exposed to the products offered by the entity.
This is an important concept in regards to the anime market because, well, the anime market is reaching a saturation point. Everybody western anime fan knows Sentai Filmworks, FUNimation, Crunchyroll, or Bandai Entertainment. They have an idea of what’s being sold, and many have made up their mind on what they will and won’t purchase. So, with a plateau-ed market, sales can only begin to trend downward or see small modifications, as existing customers lose interest, and the influx of new customers slows.
We’re at a point when the anime market itself is no longer a Blue Ocean, but a fiercely red one. Companies fight one another for our dollars, and prospects for new entrants continues to dim with each passing month.
In order for the industry to thrive, to grow again, they must begin turning to newer, bluer oceans. These new markets could be comprised of any number of niches, from drama fans, to sci-fi geeks, to fantasy aficionados. Reaching these new niches will not be easy, as the market also needs to fight disinterest in the current customer-base, to ensure that the core customers remain enthusiastic about the product.
As a brief example, Ghost in the Shell was a Blue Ocean product. The film was marketed as a standard PG-13 film, rather than as an anime movie. It received the full theatrical treatment from trailers to TV ads, and opened across the world in a nearly simultaneous release. Rather than chase the VHS-buying crowd, the film got into the heads of the PG-13 moviegoers. It was a gambit that could have alienated new markets, but it paid off. The film did not perform incredibly well at the box office, but it did becomethe first anime to top the Billboard Top 100 sales chart.