After getting all that timeslot data from 1994-2000, I realized there’s not a ton of meaningful analysis to do on it beyond simply putting it together in a coherent format and eyeballing. It’s a big sample, but also one with a decent amount of variance that would need additional attributes added to each datapoint to do more with it. This is one of those cases where the raw data at a glance is more interesting than an analysis using more complex statistical tools. I don’t regret doing it* – I certainly learned a lot, and found some justification for one of my older articles.
At any rate, from 1994-1996, one anime series aired after midnight (Those Who Hunt Elves) among 113 total shows. From 1997-2000, 75 series aired after midnight among 250 total shows. That’s an average of about 75/250~30% of the content produced for TV those years. The two biggest contributors to that 75-show total were TV Tokyo (4 dedicated slots, 33 total shows) and TBS/MBS (24 total shows). Also of note is WOWOW’s temporary emergence as a viable anime broadcaster; they aired 36 shows over the latter period, many of which were notable.
Between them, late night slots and WOWOW accounted for half of the ten 10k+ hits from that same 1997-2000 time period; Brain Powerd, Cowboy Bebop, Hand Maid May, Initial D, and To Heart. It’s not like none of these series or the other notable after-midnight shows wouldn’t have been made if not for the availability of late-night slots, but you could definitely pull out a counterfactual or five about how the industry would have been different if not for Eva and the late-90s late night boom it sparked. I think it suffices to say that they played a decently large role in opening up the field for a wider variety of shows – Cowboy Bebop is a clear example of a show that couldn’t be aired the way the creators wanted in a daytime network slot, and odds are at least some others would have faced similar difficulties. Too, a lot of the ideas that ended up becoming late-night shows were going to be in production phases may have become 2-3 episode OVAs instead, which would have been a waste of the late-cel era of animation. It’s fun to consider, at least.
*It’s basically the same thing I get out of magazine scans. Nothing so far has revolutionized my view of anime as a whole, but there’s a lot of omnipresent context that I can only begin to understand by absorbing gobs of information from a category I don’t normally specialize in. Same basic reason I’ve been reading the novel translations for Vamp and HaGaNai lately.