November 26, 2020

This New Entertainment Out of Japan is Expanding Fast

Virtual Youtubers (V-Tubers), who take the appearance of anime-like characters in their streamed video, are expanding their economic reach.

Some of these contributors have already earned JPY100 million from tips paid by fans who pay money to send comments, and they've taken all of the top three ranks in the industry, in terms of value received. There are many collaborations with companies and overseas expansions, and the field is set to grow into a new form of entertainment out of Japan.

"Good morning... I went back to sleep. Never thought I'd sleep so late". On 18 October, V-Tuber Uruha Rushia began live streaming on YouTube. "I've got morning voice", "Isn't it cold?" Among the comments written in by fans are some that had amounts worth ¥200 or ¥500 attached.

Those are from the YouTube tips function called Super Chat. By paying money, fans can display their comments in color, or for longer. They are delighted if the contributor notices them and says "thank you".

Super Chat is usable by YouTube contributors in around 70 countries, not just by V-Tubers, but of the top 10 in cumulative tip total, seven are Japanese V-Tubers (according to an investigation by Playboard of South Korea). Uruha ranks second, and Kiryu Koko is first. They are the world's only two "¥100 million players".