Have any of your friends ever inspired you to turn your passion for anime into something more? Like say, starting a blog to talk about your top 10 anime shows, or starting a YouTube account to discuss about upcoming anime releases? And to top it off — you get to earn from it!
But wait! I don’t mean watching anime while waiting for money to fall from the sky. Nope. Watching anime while earning money is not instantaneous. If nothing is given, nothing will also come.
Think of how Edward Elric (from Fullmetal Alchemist) would put it, “Equivalent Exchange.” That’s right! “Exchange” — the ultimate keyword. You must put in the effort, hard work, and time before you see the money come rolling in.
I have loved anime for almost two decades now but I’m the only one in my family who does. Since none of my family members are willing to talk to me about anime, I immediately go to the internet to write my thoughts.
Since many social media sites are bursting with anime content, I go to several ones to express my views: the YouTube comments section, Twitter, the r/anime subreddit on the Reddit app, MyAnimeList.net Forums — basically, anywhere I can think of as long as I can meet like-minded people.
Today, I’ll be delving on some methods that individuals use to earn cash while watching anime shows. From uploading videos to marketing affiliations to tagging — the methods are endless!
The methods I provide below are sorted by increasing difficulty and time. For example, method #1 will be the easiest and the quickest to implement, but method #5 will the most difficult and time consuming.
Method #1: Tagging
- Position: Netflix Editorial Analyst (also known as Netflix Channel Tagger/Writers)
- Good to know: a shared job comprising of 30-40 people/taggers in a team
- Earnings: Part-time Netflix taggers sign a non-disclosure agreement so they can keep their salaries confidential. But since a big company like Netflix generates approximately ‘$20.16 billion revenues per year’ , it’s reasonable to assume part-time taggers earn hundreds of dollars per week, or a 5-digit salary per year while watching at least 20 hours of television content.
Tagging is a supplementary job that I discovered ‘Netflix’ algorithmically uses to tag their movies and shows on their platform. More often than not, it’s a work-from-home and part-time job to provide personal viewing recommendations to over 167 million paying streaming subscribers.
It’s a job that makes you watch several shows so you can get a good idea of the “tag category” of a certain anime content or film. If you didn’t finish watching at least three episodes of an anime series, how can you even get an idea how to categorize that anime properly on the Netflix platform?
The Hunter x Hunter anime is tagged as “action-adventure” and “fantasy” in FUNimation’s anime streaming service. But Netflix takes one step further by adding metadata such as release year, voice casts, language, and content rating.
For example, the “TV-MA” content rating is used to inform viewers that the Hunter x Hunter show uses foul language, graphic violence, and even lewd scenes in some of its episodes.
Netflx’s job is to ensure accurate content rating and tagging on several of its anime shows and films. That’s why the company hires managerial positions like ‘Editorial Analyst Managers’ to delegate the tagging tasks to a team of 30-40 people.
In other words, if you applied and get hired as a tagger, you, as a binge-watcher, must spend 20 – 60 hours of watching anime, or a minimum of 8 movies a week! Woah! Imagine that! Getting paid just to binge-watch anime for 1-3 days! Dream come true, right?
But while others may view this as a dream job that could haul in tons of money while constantly watching anime for up to 3 days, it’s also a taxing job. Netflix taggers may be handsomely compensated, but they’re only hired periodically.
Watching approximately up to 60 hours of anime shows, may be great, but if Netflix asks you to watch shows that don’t pique your interest, would you? Six years ago, ‘Time.com’ wrote an article about a professional binge-watcher who needs to watch My Little Ponies for his Netflix tagging job. And take note, My Little Ponies is not even an anime show!
Method #2: Affiliate Marketing
- Position: Affiliate Marketer
- Good to Know: Depends on Traffic such as Visitors per Day, and Pageviews per Visitors
- Earnings: As traffic increases, your monthly income increases as well
Affiliation marketing is a strategy to generate passive income. It is one of the most utilized strategy when people advertise their products or services. While it may be a quick and easy way to earn money while you watch anime, the trick is to ensure pageviews and visitors per month keep growing.
For example, the table and line graphs below show that 200 visitors per month could be equated to 6,000 pageviews per month. When translated to US dollars, it means $90 per month.
But if your review site or anime channel builds a large audience and you acquire, say, 2,000 visitors per month, well, that means you’d approximate 60,000 monthly pageviews, and $900 monthly earnings! Woohoo!
|Visitors per Month
|Pageviews per Month
|Monthly Income (US$)
No organization ignores this powerful marketing strategy because it truly does help build a business in the long haul! As an alternative stream of income, bloggers utilize the power of affiliation marketing to complement their anime review sites.
In affiliation marketing, the more traffic the site gets, the better! The line graphs above show a linear relationship between traffic views and monthly earnings exists. The higher the number of visitors your blog or videos attracts, the higher your income will be! Cool, right?
Affiliate marketing links direct your audience to purchase anime-related merchandise from e-commerce websites. The buyers who decide to purchase the anime-related products or services become your “sales funnel” audience through your review site or anime channel’s affiliation marketing recommendations. Since they will be purchasing the products or services offered, it’s only then that you will earn commission income.
It may take a while before you gather your sales funnel audience through marketing affiliations. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it. In fact, thousands of reviewers and channels use affiliate links on their sites. After all, their main purpose is to recommend anime-related products or services to their growing target audience.
Links with graphic images or icons are eye-catching. Not only do they attract the immediate attention of your readers or viewers, but they also direct visitors to read your other blogs or videos. More pageviews for those certain blogs or videos mean an increase in monthly earnings.
An important topic to talk about that we cannot miss while we’re at it are commission percentages. They start as little as 4% of sales, but other affiliation marketing programs pay as much as 10% to 12% to content creators! ‘Amazon Associate’ , ‘Crunchyroll Affiliation’, and ‘Play Asia Affiliation’ offers marketing affiliation programs to publishers and vloggers.
When a consumer purchases merchandise from the Amazon e-commerce website (because you placed an Amazon affiliate link to your anime blog or vlog), you get a 4% commission! It doesn’t matter whether the product is related to anime. As long as that buyer makes up your traffic and purchases Amazon merchandise afterwards, you’ll still get your 4% commission.
It’s a different story for Crunchyroll and Play Asia. With Crunchyroll, the buyer must be subscribed to Crunchyroll’s streaming services before you even get paid. Even if you provide Crunchyroll graphic icons or website links to your anime review websites or anime video channels, but that person doesn’t become a streaming subscriber, you won’t obtain Crunchyroll’s 10% commission.
Remember that Crunchyroll only offers commissions when the traffic visitor only subscribes to the anime videos or Asian dramas it offers. If the traffic visitor only made purchases on the Crunchyroll store, you won’t even get percentage commissions on Crunchyroll’s anime merchandise sales.
Meanwhile, Play Asia is a Hong Kong-based seller of electronic toys and video games. They offer a 12% commission fee to their affiliate partners provided you’re a creator with a sizable audience sharing superb anime reviews on YouTube, Twitch TV, and similar social media websites.
A unique strategy Play Asia is implementing to expand the size of their consumers and enhance the interest of their affiliate partners is by providing store credits. These store credits are categorized via monetary ranks and they’re used by affiliate partners to purchase electronic products & services from Play Asia itself.
An affiliate partner earning higher commission fees will obtain higher store credits. But if you only earn lower commission fees because there’s not much traffic in your anime review sites, your store credits will also be lower.
Many people think that affiliate marketing programs are similar to scamming because it relies heavily on clickbait recommendations. However, this is not true and only gives it a bad reputation because it reminds people of “pyramid triangle” selling strategies.
Affiliate marketing should not be underrated. It is a powerful strategy to get you to watch anime while you earn commission fees on the side. Although difficult at the beginning, you’ll get the ball rolling in no time once you establish a sizable target audience that keeps returning to your anime reviews!
Method #3: Advertising yourself through Patreon
- Position: Patreon Creator (e.g.YouTube anime channel creator)
- Good to Know: Income levels vary depending on number of Patreon subscribers
- Earnings: Lower monthly donations mean higher monthly earnings
Let’s say that Patreon Creator # 2’s anime content is much more engaging and interesting than the video anime reviews of Creator #1. But regardless of his anime channel’s video content, his Patreon earnings decrease because he’s asking for greater monthly donations. That’s why the line graphs and table below show an inverse relationship between monthly donations and monthly earnings.
However, even if Creator #2’s income decreases, his earnings decrease at a slower rate while still earning his lowest monthly income of $81. Patreon 1’s monthly earnings, on the other hand, decrease quickly and earn nothing by the end of the month.
|Patreon Creator #1 (US Earnings per Month)
|Patreon Creator #2 (US Earnings per Month)
By setting up and customizing at least one membership level to earn $1/monthly income, you, as a Patreon creator can review or react to several anime series that your viewers love to watch. Your monthly earnings might decrease, but there’s a possibility to sustain $81/monthly and turn it into $972/year as long as you bring valuable anime content to your viewers or readers!
If you’ve already established an anime community through your YouTube channel or through your personal blog, then that’s even better!
The highest number of membership levels I’ve seen among them are nine membership levels! (There could possibly be more, but I’m just unaware of it.) All of them are stylized differently according to the creators’ personas through its customization features. And if you become a Patreon supporter, you’ll be continuously supporting the anime content creators with their anime video content, blogs, and personal merchandise through your monthly donations.
In return, the Patreon supporters acquire some level of control to the creators’ content through various forms of exclusive access and VIP benefits. For example, a basic membership level allows a Patreon supporter to donate as little as $1/month, while another allows one to donate up to $100/month.
Another interesting thing is exclusive benefits: Patreon supporters select the anime shows they’d like that YouTuber content creator to review or react to next. Alternatively, some YouTuber anime vloggers connect to their VIP audience through private chat instead of a public chat community.
Artists and creators rely onto Patreon as a supplementary income to ensure their anime channel stay afloat. After all, Patreon donations might not be their main source of financial support. But without our donations, we can’t even consume the services these hard-working anime reviewers, reactionists, and writers are giving to the public.
What I also love about the Patreon platform is that it allows users to get a little glimpse of the creator’s life. I, myself, am subscribed to six YouTube anime content creators. Some VIP membership levels allow Patreon subscribers to privately message the YouTube content creators, while other basic membership levels only allow you to buy merchandise (mugs, cellphone cases, shirts) with their anime YouTube channel’s logo in them.
Of course, Patreon is not without its downside. Patreon creators asking $100 monthly donations may be too much, but those asking for too little with unattractive benefits and unoriginal anime content might not earn donations for a certain month at all. If you are a returning customer and often read the anime blogs and watch the reaction/review videos of several anime writers or endorsers, then it’s wise to support them.
Two of the Patreon anime reviewers I’m subscribed to earn between $110 to $272 donations per month. That’s not a bad achievement for them because they deliver in-depth character and episodic analyses on several anime shows I have been watching for seven months now! If you want to ensure a YouTube anime reviewer keeps doing anime blogs/vlogs, it’s nice if you can financially support that person to maintain his/her anime channel.
Method #4: Personal Blog or Content Writing for Websites
- Position: Bloggers: Reviewers, Writers, Editors
- Good to Know: US$30 on average up to US$1,000/year for regular bloggers – earnings of approximately 50% of bloggers paid per post
|Monthly Earnings (US$)
|Percentage of Bloggers
As the pie graph above shows, only 10% of people (“hobbyists”) blog and earn nothing from it. These are “hobbyists” blog for personal purposes even without obtaining any forms of monetary compensation.
But the rest of the group (90% of bloggers) earn even as little as under $10! And if you combine the 28% and 25% bloggers, there are about 53% of people in the blogging industry who are earning under US$10 or between US$10-US$99 (an average of US$30 monthly)!
That’s the way they do it. People may not be prone to writing long articles about anime because blogging may be time consuming for them. However, personal blogs such as WordPress and Tumblr allow people to express their love for anime. And if people want to read about anime theories and speculations, review sites are there for you!
Discussing the strongest characters within the show and talking about upcoming anime releases — people don’t often go to Wikipedia or Wikia for those; rather, they go to social media, including anime blogs. Anime viewers may want to hear the personal opinions and recommendations of people who read the manga — not just info dumps on plot points repetitively mentioned online.
As a blog reader, wouldn’t you want to hear bloggers’ personal thoughts about recent episode releases of a top-tier anime you’re following? Don’t you want to hear from others how they understand the characters’ motivations and the reasons behind the characters’ actions? And ever thought of speculating the direction the story will be going?
Bloggers are important in the anime industry because, at the very least, they make the effort to watch or binge-watch fans’ all-time favorite animes. In fact, that’s one reason I joined Epicdope.com — this anime review website cultivates my anime knowledge by binge-watching old ones while also looking forward to upcoming releases.
Did you also know “blogging” was coined back in 1997 when John Barger called his website a “weblog”? If it weren’t for him, fans wouldn’t lounge around sites where they can comment on and discuss their opinions on several currently airing anime shows.
And since blogging has been around since the internet boom of the late 1990s, it’s not going to go away soon! As a utilizable platform for writers, blogging allows people to talk about their preferred anime shows while making money on the side.
Other blog sites that come to mind are the ones included in MyAnimeList.net and AnimeNewsNetwork.com. Even if they’re anime databases, they also have review and forum pages so users can discuss and comment on a variety of new and old anime shows.
Method #5: Vlogging (i.e. YouTube Vlogging)
Position: YouTube Vloggers: Anime Content Analysts, Reactionists, Reviewers, etc.
Good to Know: YouTube content creators with less than 100,000 may not see their profiles on ‘YouTubers.me’
Earnings: If you acquire over 100,000 subscribers, your earnings as a YouTube anime vlogger can fluctuate between approximately ~$400 to $2,000+
This is one of the most difficult and time-consuming method to earn money while watching anime. However, if done right, it will provide a lucrative income to your anime channel whether using vimeo, Dailymotion, but especially YouTube.
As I said before, I follow six YouTube content anime creators. Having recently found out ‘YouTubers.me’, I personally think YouTube vloggers are truly living the dream!
Here’s an example of a popular anime YouTube channel I’m following. Having obtained 400,000 subscribers since his channel’s inception on December 2013, his video views now approximate to 159+ million! And, to top it all off, he’s earning about $2,330 just for providing his opinions and reviews on several anime shows! That’s so neat, right?
Cross-referencing the number of subscribers using his public YouTube channel verifies the legitimacy of the website. I never even knew that such stats website exists for YouTube content creators!
At the end of the day, vloggers monetize their anime knowledge by sharing analyses about their top tier shows through mainstream social media. And the fruits of their labors can be clearly seen in their “About” channels and in the statistics page of the ‘YouTubers.me’ website.
You might think it’s easy to video yourself talking about anime and uploading it in a YouTube. However, having watched several anime vloggers for the past year-and-a-half now, I realized what made me stick and subscribe to only 6 YouTube anime channels out of thousands of anime reviewers: content delivery.
Watching the 6 anime YouTube vloggers becomes a hobby. Every time I finish watching one episode of an anime they reviewed, I immediately go to their anime channel to hear their thoughts and opinions about the episode. And it expands my knowledge and understanding of the episode — from storyline, characterization, up to color psychology and environment storytelling!
You may see me as just becoming part of their massive audience or a part of their online anime communities. But subscribing to their anime YouTube channels allow me to curate which anime shows will be worth my time. On their end, however, money continues to flow to their bank accounts because they put their hearts and souls into reviewing several anime shows flawlessly and stunningly!
As I stated earlier, vlogging is a popular method, but it’s not without its hard work. YouTubers must put in the nitty-gritty before seeing cash flowing into their wallet.
Some questions to ask before even diving into YouTube are how to engage your target market through the content of your anime channel. Do your videos get their immediate attention? Are they subscribing instantly? Are they only watching the first five minutes or all the way through the end of the anime videos?
An increasing number of subscribers and viewers on your YouTube, TwitchTV, MetaCafe, or Dailymotion account could mean income growth income. If you made a good impression to your target audience and saw that your online videos are bringing you some (or all your) income, then you have a good understanding how to monetize from your niche.
Some disadvantages in hosting your own online anime channel is that a YouTube user needs 1,000 subscribers on his/her registered account before the money even starts to roll in. If the number of subscribers is less than 1,000, the user won’t get paid.
You must manage everything on your own if you’re the sole creator: curate video content, promote popular videos, monitor video stats, and delete spoiler statements from the comments section. If you don’t want this enormous task, the alternative is acquiring some form of help. Have a co-creator on board when uploading anime videos.
The other choice is getting hired help to do the other tasks not related to video content creation. You are the face of your channel. And seeing the person behind the monitor screen face-to-face is a great way of establishing trust to your online viewers.
However, if you don’t want your face online, your choice is to pick an avatar (like a cartoon version of yourself) and use that to communicate to your fanbase.
The other disadvantage is that it takes an average of 2 to 3 hours from video content creation to uploading in YouTube. If you constantly stream anime reviews, episode reactions, or analyses on several anime shows on a consistent basis, then you must keep up such workload to ensure subscribers and viewers return to your channel.
Maintaining a feasible anime channel on video-sharing platforms is like creating a business from the ground up. You must establish your customers (fanbase) and ensure they pursue your products or services (anime videos) persistently.
Customers or fans always look for something new. That’s why you must be ready to adapt and switch gears (switch to different anime shows) if need be to maintain and improve both viewership ratings the number of your subscribers.
Which of the five methods above would you choose?
|Approximate Monthly Earnings
|Easy or. Difficult?
|e.g. ~$100+/week, or a 5-digit salary per year
|Easy, but eye-straining due to binge-watching
|20-60 hours per week watching tv shows/films
|~$2.25 up to $9,000
|Easy, but depends on the site’s traffic
|< 2-3 hours: write content first in your blogs (or uploading videos first), then inserting affiliate marketing links
|Advertising Yourself through Patreon
|$0-$110 or $81-$272
|Easy, but depends on how you, as a blogger or YouTube creator can attract Patreon subscribers
|Setting up Patreon membership levels takes 1-2 hours, then, another 1-2 hours in customizing and personalizing your Patreon homepage to attract users; but your Patreon advertisement is also dependent on other sites like how your blog attracts readers or how your YouTube attracts viewers
|Personal Blogs/Content Writing for Websites
|US$30 on average up to US$1,000/year for regular bloggers per post
|Difficult: writing requires time before you can structure a cohesive anime blog content
|2-3 hours in writing anime blogs; could be more depending on the site you’re reviewing for, or the anime topics you’re writing about
|Vlogging (particularly through YouTube)
|Depends on number of subscribers, but 1,000 are needed so that your anime channel can earn: fluctuates between $400 up to $2,000+ per month
|Difficult: recording, editing, uploading takes a lot of time, as well
|Approximately 3-4 hours just to record, edit, and upload; could be more depending on the vlog content
The anime industry in Japan and in the West is lucrative when you are the anime director, producer, distributor, seller, manga creator, etc. But if you’re on the receiving end, all that we can do or be for now are become an anime viewer while also choosing any of the following: become an affiliate, a Patreon creator, a reviewer, vlogger, blogger, tagger, podcaster, artist, fanfic writer, cosplayer, gamer, etc.
They may seem to be small-scaled jobs compared to the higher-ups who are on the creation side of the anime shows. But as fans, promoters, and supporters of the anime industry, each of our individual efforts build up this anime and manga community we have learned to love for decades.
Only a few people exist in the world who chooses to monetize from their hobbies of anime watching. And when I say “few”, I meant 0.01% as follows: only about 780,000 people in the anime/manga community get to watch anime while making some form of income out of it (780,000 is 0.01% of the 7.8 billion world population). So, if you think about it, 0.01% is literally nothing.
However, it’s because of our passion in anime that makes the approaches on anime-watching monetization diverse. We don’t just stream-watch our beloved shows; rather, we actively curate anime content to others’ liking, too. In this way, we increase our portfolio of anime knowledge while discovering new techniques to earn income, whether it’s sustainable in the long-term.
They may require more effort than just relaxing and staying at home, but it’s well worth the effort to do it while the opportunity arises; it gives you a fulfilling purpose. But most importantly, you dive deep into anime shows you never thought could have loved if it weren’t for your job.