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Bandai to Provide Content to Amazon Unbox

posted on 2006-09-11 14:25 EDT
Japan's Bandai Channel and Norh America's Bandai Entertainment to provide downloadable anime through Amazon Unbox

Bandai Channel and Bandai Entertainment have announced that they will provide on-demand content online through a partnership with the recently launched Amazon Unbox service. In addition, Bandai Channel will "lend its expertise in on-demand distribution including such topics as conversion of content to online formats and protection of copyrights."

Amazon Unbox allows customers to rent or buy unpackaged media from the site. Rentals can be watched as many times as desired over a 24 hour period within 30 days of the initial purchase (the video becomes unavailable 24 hours after the first viewing starts, the first viewing can start up to 30 days after the purchase), while purchases can be watched whenever the purchaser chooses, as many times as they chose.

Amazon Unbox videos range in price, typically from $1.99 and up. The Bandai videos are priced at $3.99 per episode to buy, no rentals are currently available for Bandai Channel titles. Most North American TV series are priced at $1.99 an episode. Season sale prices, allowing a viewer to purchase an entire season, are also available. For example, Infinite Ryvius is available for $39.80 for the entire 26-episode series, instead of $79.80.

According to the press release, 15 titles have currently been selected to be made available on Amazon Unbox. Currently only 6 of these are available, Outlaw Star (22 episodes available), Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (41 episodes available), Infinite Ryvius (26 episodes available) and Escaflowne (23 episodes available). Other series that have been selected to be made available include Eureka Seven, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Witch Hunter Robin, My-HiME and SD Gundam Force.

Amazon Unbox is only available within the United States, it is not available in Canada or other countries (US billing address required, and downloads will not be sent outside of the USA, even if purchased with a US billing address).

Commenting on whether or not they were worried about the impact these sales would have on packaged media (ie: DVDs), Bandai states, "Bandai Namco Group feels this new venture can co-exist with the DVD business, which tends to have additional material and collectible value. We anticipate many viewers, after experiencing Japanese Animation more easily through digital distribution, wanting to buy higher-quality DVDs and next generation DVDs of the content they view on-line. In Japan, by digitally distributing Gundam Seed at the same time as the TV broadcast, Bandai Namco raises its recognition of this series and it dramatically increased the sale of DVDs."

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