We’ve been mulling over how best to manage properties digitally in the UK for a while now. While we’re strong supporters of subscription based offerings and are open to all different kinds of models including subscription ones as offered by old friends www.anime-on-demand.com and crunchyroll.com – but what we spent ages thinking about was that there had to be a better way to manage Download for TV series than was currently available. This led us to look through other models out there until we found one in France that was super cool!
WHAT DID WE FIND?
In France, there’s this platform called Wakanim which shares a lot of the ethics we have always dreamed of aspiring to. In a flurry of activity recently we realised we had the perfect synergy too and their model may be familiar in some ways to anyone who is familiar with iPlayer.
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT TO WHAT’S THERE NOW?
For one month after broadcast in Japan:
– Free streams in SD and 720p, with up to 1 minute of advertising total per video.
– Free Download to Rent offline, files with DRM and valid for 4 days.
There are also premium options:
– Paid streaming rental – at one price regardless of HD or SD, £0.69 / ep
– DRM-free download – MP4, .h264 codec – playable on most systems – £1.25 / ep
No subscriptions – just a chance to support legally and then pay for the shows you want to support – easy!
WAIT…DID YOU SAY DOWNLOAD?
Yes we did and download, as you can see, is very important to this platform and it’s built very much on trust on the users. Instead of punishing users from Day 1 – you the user gets a chance to be treated as a responsible user. Isn’t that a nice change? Even better – as there are free streams too – you can try before you buy and then vote with your wallet if you love the show!
How does it work? Well Wakanim invests its money in tracking down piracy instead of punishing fans for wanting to show support for shows legally.
Of course as with any model – in the UK not every title will be available on DTO / DTR initially because we need to demonstrate to Japan that this model is something people want outside of France too. So I urge you – give some love to this and support titles as they come up – don’t let the effort be in vain there!
On launch all titles, barring Kill la Kill which will be available as streaming only for now, will have the full package of options available for users to choose from, including Samurai Flamenco. We have one or two neat surprises for this season too that will also have the full package of options for people to choose from too!
ARE YOU COMPETING WITH CRUNCHYROLL OR ANIME ON DEMAND?
Short answer – no! Longer answer – no, we’d never dream of it! When we made the decision of how to manage simulcast content – it didn’t come easily. We asked ourselves two core questions:
1. Are there existing models that we gel with and can generate adequate revenue for the Japanese studios and to keep the acquisitions viable.
2. Is there anything missing from the market? An itch that isn’t being scratched if you will.
We came to the conclusion that the answer to #1 was clear – you have both Anime on Demand and Crunchyroll to cater to your needs so no point creating another subscription service. Why create an extra rival for rights and audiences if you can avoid it? The answer to the #2 was far more interesting – we asked around and the one common thing lacking was a download service, something we thought was a distant dream until we saw how Wakanim worked in France.
What we want to do is very simple – offer you the chance to support the series you love directly and have a file you can keep forever. No authenticating on other machines, no tricky proprietary formats – just a simple file you can use as you please so long as you use the same common sense you’d do with a DVD or BD you owned. Even better, by buying on a series-by-series basis – you know the money you pay is going back to the creators in Japan for that show only. No confusion or wondering where your subscription money actually goes each month!
OK, SO YOU’RE A DIFFERENT SERVICE – WILL I BE ABLE TO WATCH YOUR SHOWS ON CRUNCHYROLL OR ANIME ON DEMAND?
We would like to see any title licensed by Anime Limited – either for digital only or all rights to be available to as many people as possible – so if you don’t care about download then there is a viable channel for you to enjoy the titles too. For now we hope the free soon to be ad-supported streaming on our site is a good halfway house, but we know there are a lot of people who’d like to see it on other services too.
Rest assured, we’re currently talking to a wide variety services about what can be done from simulcast onwards in partnership with them. Hopefully we will have good news in the near future and certainly for upcoming seasons!