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 (Which incorporates these comments) when it is published.
Madman Entertainment has served as the mainstream Australian anime publisher for some time now, with hundreds of acquisitions under belt and a long history of home video releases on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. Many of their licenses are now available online via their new AnimeLab video-on-demand service, with new and old titles alike being routinely added to their service.
Things also changed the other week when AnimeLab Premium was first announced, taking what had so far been a free service and offering enhanced features for a low price point of $6.95 per month (or less with an annual subscription). While my analysis of this will be saved for the article, I did have the opportunity to ask Ben Pollock (Madman Publicity Manager) a few questions about the Premium service and AnimeLab in general. You can read his valuable insight below:
How do you think adopting a video-on-demand/simulcast program has benefited your company and your fanbase?
Our fans are consuming content via so many different mediums now. In a way, this service is a response to that and obviously helps us to continue to deliver that content to them via the most direct route possible. Our fanbase will benefit from access (full access via subscription, or limited access with a free account) to both our extensive back catalogue and simulcast programmed content. With regards to the latter, they’ll also have access to this content far ahead of the physical product.
In your opinion, what has been the strongest received series in your line-up? What has the reception been like in general?
Our most popular shows right now are Tokyo Ghoul (Simulcast) and Sword Art Online (Back Catalogue). They’re both strong word of mouth series. Response to the service has been fantastic. We love our users, and they’ve helped us hone and refine the service a lot over the last 12 months.
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?
It offers users of the service a better value proposition. Besides, not all the AnimeLab users are veterans. A lot of them haven’t seen these older titles before. And, honestly? Who wouldn’t want to watch Cowboy Bebop?
Having run AnimeLab as a free service for almost a year now, why was the decision made to offer a two-tier system?
A subscription model was always on the cards, but the 12 month free period was important in terms of ensuring we could consistently deliver a great service whilst also assessing whether that there was demand. The answer to both is obviously yes, and we overwhelming had people telling us they would willingly pay for a subscription service. But we understand that’s not for everybody, so hopefully maintaining the free tier will satisfy those fans otherwise.
What are your expectations for the new Premium service, and what do you think the main appeals are for people to sign up?
We expect to continue to grow the catalogue and deliver strong content for our users, both in simulcast and back-catalogue. The benefits of a subscription are pretty clear – HD, no delays on simulcasts, full back catalogue access and a few other perks here and there.