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New U.K. Anime Online Broadcaster Announced

posted on by Andrew Osmond
First title confirmed for U.K. Wakanim site is Kill la Kill.

Olivier Cervantès, the co-founder of Wakanim.tv which broadcasts anime in France, has told ANN that he will launch wakanim.co.uk , a U.K. version of the site. A beta version of the site will be launched in mid-October. Before then, its first title, Kill la Kill, will be simulcast on the All the Anime website. The launch time of the first episode is still to be confirmed, but subsequent episodes of the series will be put up in synch with the Japanese broadcast.

All the Anime is the site of the U.K distributor Anime Limited, which will be exclusively purchasing titles for wakanim.co.uk

When wakanim.co.uk itself is launched, it will simulcast new anime, and also offer older anime titles. It will be possible to watch episodes free on the site for a month. Customers will also be able to download them free for a period of four days. Premium customers will have the options of paying to rent episodes, or buying them permanently. The premium rental - access to an episode stream for 30 days from payment – will cost 69p per episode. Download to buy will cost £1.25 per episode.

“WAKANIM is a French internet broadcaster for Japanese animation, which has been doing simulcasts for four years now,” Cervantès says. “We have a business model which is quite different from overseas markets. All the episode are free to watch for one month, financed with advertising – there is less than one minute of advertising per episode. We also sell a premium service, which includes both rental - streaming for 30 days - and download to own. Download to own is important for us, as I think we were the first company in Europe to offer anime with no DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions on a file. Basically we offer files that can be read everywhere, permanently, without installing software or being connected to the internet.”

Regarding the site's streaming, Cervantès says, “We are using Internap, a very strong Content Delivery Network partner in the UK, to provide the fastest stream possible. We will provide both SD and HD for the free content. For premium users, we are offering the best HD quality on the market.”

On Wakanim's history in France, Cervantès says, “Wakanim is a service which was built from nothing four years ago. We just had a contract for one title and constructed everything from scratch, each title allowing us to buy another one. Today in France we have five to six simulcasts each season, including titles such as Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. We retain titles, with 35 on the French site at present.”

Andrew Partridge, the founder of Anime Limited, adds, “Wakanim's concept is simple and efficient. To truly engage with fans with legal simulcasts, you need to offer a service that's comparable with less legitimate ones. That's something current services don't capture - they're not aiming at that market, and that's something Wakanim can provide. Often, subscription models run on quantity over quality. I would rather provide a quality service and focus on bringing people great shows. Anime Limited will be working both with domestic licensees and Japanese rights holders to bring the best content to Wakanim each season.”

Partridge adds, “I respect what subscription model services like Crunchyroll do and believe there's a great place for them too. I view Wakanim as kind of a neat alternative option for fans. I'd love people to come see what it's all about at MCM Expo in October. We'll have some very neat giveaways at the All the Anime stand including A2 posters for those who like our Facebook and showcase the shows which we're simulcasting - we've a few more surprises to come too.”

Partidge and Cervantès both stress that wakanim.co.uk will not compete with the anime DVD/Blu-ray markets. 'Digital should not be an excuse for acquisition of all rights - it should be a support to the original creators in Japan to promote their work,” says Partridge.

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