Many pictures are posted on Pixiv each day that also feature a lot of anime shows.
If you just randomly open Pixiv, the homepage is full with pictures of the community. As I type this the homepage is heavily featured with Love Live! related artworks. Is this coincidental? Or can this be a marketing scheme from the webmasters from Pixiv in collaboration with the studio?
The first Blu-Ray boxset sales of the second season of Love Live, which was released the 20th of June 2014,reached 82000 units in the first week. Being the best selling Blu-ray in Japan in that particular week. Not only were the Blu-ray sales impressive, the cosplay community massively purchased the Love Live! school uniform giving it a number one spot.
The interest is high and therefore indicates an active following, which results in fans expressing their enthusiasm for the franchise. Which can be expressed through cosplaying, buying the product, but also fanart. This seems to work together along smoothly, since a large following will result in more exposure by fans of the franchise. The studio releases teaser images themselves which can also drive awareness and active the fanbase. Nonetheless, the popularity is still high long after the original airing date. But it’s still interesting to see that Pixiv prominently features Love Live! on its homepage.
This can be as I stated earlier, a natural occurrence, where Pixiv features artwork that is popular on its network on its frontpage. Since the frontpage functions as sort of a billboard to invite the visitor to engage more on the website, consequently browsing and seeing more banners from advertisers. Yet there can also be another theory. That portions of the frontpage are sold to studios to guarantee that their franchise is featured, resulting in a relative neutral advertising platform.
That’s not an unreasonable thought that Pixiv in collaboration with studios tries to stimulate the popularity of franchises to drive sales. Just like Twitter that sells paid trends to stimulate certain topics to be discussed, creating product or brand awareness. Apart from bannering, there could be more sales-features within Pixiv. This isn’t really a problem since both parties need each other to exist. Pixiv needs money to run its service and attract more artists and studio’s on the other hand need the exposure to promote their products.
Some shows barely have any exposure, perhaps due to low marketing budgets resulting in low awareness, bad ratings and consequently a small following that produces ‘promotional’ material. In that respect the Pixiv frontpage tells you which shows have a massive following or the most marketing to provoke this behavior. As an anime enthusiast you get a feel in what is trending, what you can blog about or catch up on anime you might have missed.