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Bandai and Microsoft distribute Anime

posted on 2003-12-09 12:10 EST
Bandai and Microsoft bringing online streaming anime to North America in 2004, already available in South Korea

Multiple Sources: Animaxis, Microsoft,
Toei, Natsume Maya

Bandai Japan and Microsoft have teamed up to distribute anime on the Internet using Microsoft's Windows Media technology. Fruits of the partnership are already becoming available to South Koreans as five titles became available for streaming download at the end of November. The titles currently available in Korea include three Gundam movies, Z Gundam (50 TV episodes), Dirty Pair (26 TV episodes), .hack//SIGN (26 TV episodes) and Aura Battler Dunbine (49 TV episodes).

According to the Microsoft Press Release (in Japanese), the service will expand globally, with content distribution becoming available in more parts of Asia, Europe and North America by the end of 2004.

The content is being made available to South Koreans at 300 kbs and 700kbs at a respective cost of roughly $0.70 and $1 per episode, movies are slightly more expensive, costing $1.30 and $1.70. The press release and news articles do not mention what kind of prices and bandwidth customers can look forward to when the services are introduced internationally.

Meanwhile, Toei launched a new streaming service in Japan on December 1st. The "Toei Tokusatsu Anime Archives," featuring anime and Tokusatsu (Live action) titles, the new service replace Toei's previous Tokusatsu only service. Toei's initial anime offering appears to be limited to only Fist of the North Star, while several Tokusatsu series are currently available. Episodes are priced at 100 yen (just under US$1) and series can be bought in their entirety for a lower price, the 109 episode Fist of the North Star series costs 5000 yen. The service is offerred in conjuction with a number of broadband Internet providers, So-Net's Toei Tokusatsu Anime Archives can be seen here.

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