The SankeiBiz news website posted an article about the phenomenon of the virtual idol Hatsune Miku from a business perspective on Tuesday, and in the article noted that the idol has generated more than 10 billion yen (about US$120.28 million) in revenue since she was first introduced five years ago.
The article added that a consultant from the Nomura Research Institute had arrived at that number after some preliminary calculations.
The website noted that it was the social and crowdsourcing nature of the Vocaloid software that contributed to the popularity of Hatsune Miku, as fans can use the software to create their own songs and post them on social websites like Nico Nico Douga. The software then also helps to support amateur artists and their works.
The article noted that different revenue streams for the Hatsune Miku franchise include the voice software itself, video game titles, manga adaptations, public performances, live online broadcasts, songs featured in karaoke chain stores, CDs, DVDs of performances, collaborations with the Sapporo Snow Festival, and miscellaneous merchandise.
So far, Sega has released four video games featuring Hatsune Miku, and the video games have shipped a total of more than 1 million copies. In addition, the Hatsune Miku commercial project for the Toyota Corolla and the Google Chrome commercial featuring Hatsune Miku also contributed to the franchise's rising popularity and additional revenue. The song used for the Google Chrome commercial, "'Tell Your World," was released as a single on March 14 and sold 33,000 copies its first week to rank at #4 on Oricon's album rankings chart.
Hatsune Miku recently held four performances on March 9-10 at the Tokyo Dome City event hall; all four performances were sold out, with more than 10,000 people attending each event. In addition, Nico Nico Douga's parent company Dwango told SankeiBiz that more than 120,000 people paid to watch the performance live on Nico Nico Douga.
The article noted that while the 100 billion yen was a far cry from the Pokémon, franchise, which has earned more than 3 trillion yen (about US$36.1 billion) since 1996 and sold more than 200 million video game units, the social networking core of Hatsune Miku will only continue to boost Hatsune Miku's popularity as it continues to become a major trend.