Approximately one year ago, the Australian anime industry made a change for the better – with both Madman Entertainment and Hanabee Entertainment launching their own video-on-demand services. I am in the process of writing up an article relating to this topic, which has unfortunately been met with a couple of delays buy will hopefully be published in the next week or two.
Because there is such fantastic content in the interview’s done with both Australian anime publishers, I have decided to publish the commentary prematurely. This is only one aspect of my article however, so please look forward to the final product when it is published.
Hanabee was the second company to launch video-on-demand anime in Australia, starting out with an ambitious set of six titles. This has since expanded into a moderate-sized compilation of enticing titles, with many old and new (simulcast) titles available completely for free at no additional charge. I had the good fortune to pose a few questions to Hanabee Marketing Manager and “Afro Enthusiast” Cameron Rooney, with his insight available below.
How do you think adopting a video-on-demand/simulcast program has benefited your company and your fanbase?
We have seen a great and consistent increase in use of our VOD/simulcast platform at Hanabee.com.au. It’s been a lot of fun to make too It’s more content for everyone, we release new DVD titles every month and now we get to release new VOD titles as well! More anime for everyone is never a bad thing.
In your opinion, what has been the strongest received series in your line-up? What has the reception been like in general?
I’ve been wrestling with this since I was absolutely addicted to Akame ga Kill! when it came out but – without a doubt, at the end of every episode of Fate stay/night: Unlimited Blade Works I scream “THIS IS THE BEST ANIME EVER.” The reception has been awesome but everyone is begging for these titles on DVD &Bluray. Generally there’s a quite a wait in between, for instance Captain Earth is finally scheduled for release this July but we released it on VOD a year ago! We’re working to close the gap and by the end of the year we should see some HUGE VOD titles (some we haven’t even announced yet) come out on DVD.
Rather than just running simulcasts, you have also begun streaming a number of older titles you currently have out on DVD and/or Blu-ray. What benefits do you think come from this?
I think of it as “Try before you buy” and that’s worked really well with our audience. If there’s more legal and friendly ways to watch anime then that can only help the industry. And every month I get to sit down with the marketing team and see what we can upload that’s old and new to then theme it around something. It’s a lot of fun! We did the Summer of Anime with Akame ga Kill! Then we released Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun with a really fun Valentine’s Day video. For our birthday we put every episode of Monogatari online to say thanks to one of our favourite series. In the end it’s all for the fans.
How do you see the service potentially expanding in the future?
VOD is becoming more popular as Australia’s average internet speed increases and anime has always been the pioneers for online streaming. I don’t think I’ve watched network TV in a year? It’s crazy how fast things can change. For now we’re going to keep releasing new titles and our back catalogue until it’s all up there and online then look to the next phase. I can’t wait to show everyone what we have planned.