Seira Hazuki wrote:
I mean I'll take your word, but it's weird to call something an "online hit" if its "millions of streams" are from illegal sources which gives its creators zero money ... And I'm still not exactly sure how you're getting that Crystal is a bigger hit online than shows like Madoka or Precure.
For Toei, having a new anime like Crystal helps promote the onslaught of anniversary merch and everything else, so as long as that keeps selling, Season 4 can have abysmal ratings, dvd/bd sales and terrible reviews and we'll still get a Season 5. If it was judged on its own merits, the plug would have been pulled on Crystal ages ago, but the rules are a little different when you're part of a behemoth franchise.
True, but one thing you need to take into consideration is that Madoka and Pretty Cure are both aired on TV while Crystal started out as a web series, before it migrated to TV for season 3. So unlike Crystal, there's really no legal streaming sites where you can watch Madoka and Pretty Cure legally, since their only legal form of broadcast is on TV, so the studios make absolutely NO profit from all those online streaming for Madoka and Pretty Cure. But since Crystal was originally a web series, it can be streamed legally for free in Japan and worldwide and the only official online distributor I know where you can watch Crystal legally online in Japan is Nico Nico. And the Crystal episodes tend to get higher views on Nico and other streaming sites compared to Madoka and Pretty Cure.
Of course I'm just basing my judgment on what I've seen and observed and I go to these Japanese sites quite frequently, but I'm sure being part of such a huge and iconic franchise certainly benefits Crystal a lot, and not to mention the new anime ties into all the popular anniversary merchandise as part of the whole SM 20th-25th anniversary project, so that certainly helps boost Crystal's exposure & interest too. It probably wouldn't fair as well if Crystal was just a standalone anime without all the anniversary tie-ins. But the anime itself still gets a lot of views and streaming online. The amount of people who watch and stream Crystal online far outweighs the number of people who buy the blu-rays and DVDs, which proves that most fans prefer to stream Crystal online instead of buying the physical blu-ray & DVD releases. And that problem extends to Japan's home video market in general, like I have mentioned before, the home video market worldwide has been shrinking rapidly with more and more people turning to online streaming nowadays. So it's not just Crystal's blu-ray & DVD sales that are affected. And the fact that you can watch Crystal legally online for free certainly gives fans more incentive to opt for the online streaming instead. I think maybe Toei knew that Crystal was popular online so they made the blu-ray releases for the first 2 seasons more impressive with good bonuses to entice more buyers to buy the blu-rays, rather than just streaming the anime online, but that marketing strategy may not have worked so well as Toei might have hoped. It would explain why the subsequent blu-ray releases for season 3 were less impressive & elaborate with less bonuses in comparison.