The anime industry has grown significantly in the last few years, especially outside of Japan. It has spread rapidly across the world, with a major increase in the licensing of various series, movies, and OAVs at an increased rate across multiple regions, and the rise of the anime network, Animax, acknowledged as the largest 24-hour anime-only network in the world, broadcasting its anime programming across Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, the entire Indian subcontinent, Latin America and South Korea.
While Anime has been licensed by its Japanese owners for use outside of Japan since at least the 1960s, the practice became well-established in the United States in the late 1970s to early 1980s, when such TV series as Gatchaman and Captain Harlock were licensed from their Japanese parent companies for distribution in the US market, often with fairly dramatic changes to the original concepts and storylines. The trend towards American distribution of anime continued into the 1980s with the licensing of titles such as Voltron and the 'creation' of new series such as Robotech through use of source material from several original series.
In the early 1990s, several companies began to experiment with licensing less children-oriented material. Some, such as A.D. Vision, and Central Park Media and its imprints, achieved fairly substantial commercial success and went on to become major players in the now very lucrative American anime market. Others, such as AnimEigo, achieved more limited success. Many companies created directly by Japanese parent companies did not do as well, most releasing only one or two titles before folding their American operations.
Because anime is produced mainly by Japanese companies, it has to be licensed in other areas of the world by companies in order to be legally released. Licenses are extremely expensive and it is not uncommon to find that companies are paying at rates of up to $20,000 an episode to license a series for release.