What do you do when you hit it big in Anitube?
You get invited to live and make content in Japan on a work visa.
GeeXPlus is a Japanese influencer agency that connects Japanese brands with international influencers. They’re a subsidiary of Book Walker, which is itself a subsidiary of Kadokawa. The company was formed in response to the Japanese government’s plan to expand their work visa program.
GeeXPlus also represents several Anitube influencers stateside and in Canada. Creators like Red Bard, Mother’s Basement, and Glass Reflection round out their roster.
The role of an agency is to connect influencers with brands. Many content creation sectors have specialized agencies that represent growing and major influencers. For example, agencies in the gaming and esports sector might connect Twitch streamers with gaming brands like Corsair and Logitech.
In return, the agency takes a percentage of the deal.
Anitube presents a unique challenge in that many of the brands endemic to anime are Japanese. English anime brands exist, but not many. And not all of those are willing or able to work with influencers. And only so many Anitube personalities can have Crunchyroll sponsor their videos before it becomes clear that’s the only sponsor they can get.
GeeXPlus solves several problems for Anitube. It provides access to Japanese brands, brings Anitube personalities closer to those brands, and acts as their guarantor to help secure housing in Japan.
It’s a unique opportunity, on both sides. Anitube personalities get connections to brands their peers have no access to. Japanese brands get access to new audiences through those Anitube personalities. And GeeXPlus gets paid for negotiating the deals.
More agencies like this could help more Anitube creators make a real living out of their content. The difficulty, however, is similar to that of starting a new US anime business. It would require existing relationships with Japanese brands.
Another way to help Anitube influencers would be to grow more Western anime brands. As more anime-adjacent brands grow, so do opportunities for influencer marketing. For example: Up-and-coming Anitube personalities could benefit from independently seeking deals with small companies with web presence.
Influencer marketing is a powerful and growing strategy. GeeXPlus has the first-mover’s advantage of being early to do what they do. They also have Kadokawa behind them. That doesn’t, however, preclude other companies from making similar moves.
And it would work to their advantage. If GeeXPlus’s strategy proves successful, other Japanese brands will want access to the same audiences. The floodgates would open as Japanese brands seek Anitube people to work with.
There’s a lot of money in influencer marketing, and that money’s about to cross an ocean now. What remains to be seen is if there will be a business infrastructure to receive it when it comes.