Starting at the beginning of April, VIZ Media is going to be transitioning all of its weekly anime programming to the free ad-supported Hulu, including its subscription based counterpart, Hulu Plus “Video-On-Demand” services. VIZ is hoping that this will solidify itself in the realm of anime even further by pairing itself with one of the U.S.’s biggest streaming providers as well as enriching the “Neon Alley” brand.
Those in the U.S. will be able to catch a wide variety of the brand new anime coming out, as well as classic content that is distributed or licensed by VIZ Media for free on Hulu by going to Neon Alley’s website at NeonAlley.com, it will also be carrying all anime content that was previously available on VizAnime.com. Those who opt to go in for the Hulu Plus Subscription will be able to stream it across a multitude of devices: Sony’s Playstation 4 and Playstation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360, Roku, Chromecast, and others that are supported by Hulu Plus’ app. Also, simply visit NeonAlley.com if you are wondering what all shows will be available and when, they already have
“Neon Alley’s mission has always been to offer an innovative way for domestic fans to access and enjoy dubbed high-quality anime content legally, and as a content partner for Hulu and Hulu Plus, the Neon Alley brand makes a big stride to fulfill this objective and expand our audience substantially across the most widely used digital platforms and devices”, says Brian Ige, Vice Present of Animation. “Viewers will have ore free ways than ever to access and watch their favorite shows, and we look forward to fans joining us for a new era of anime enjoyment!”.
[ My Thoughts ]
Not going to lie, this new move by VIZ Media sounds very tempting indeed. Many other programs have already utilized something similar to this, including the Manga application. However, I do have to wonder exactly how they plan to keep everyone interested beyond the ads, especially if they are going to follow the usual format of having multiple shown within a single episode on Hulu (It gets annoying very quickly). However, due to the convenient streaming that goes with Hulu Plus, many people have opted for subscriptions and this move will be bringing its base to a wider audience since many people already are subscribers.
For me, I am wondering exactly how they are going to stack up against what seems to be the #1 anime streaming service available in the United States, Crunchyroll. While CrunchyRoll is mostly dedicated to Anime, Online Manga, Asian Dramas, and Asian Movies; we have Hulu which is more geared towards Western Shows, Movies, and now it is paired with Eastern Anime. While CrunchyRoll is for the fanatics of anime and Asian entertainment content, Hulu is geared more towards a western normal audience; it is essentially that of both worlds when you think about it. I do not see myself switching over from Crunchyroll but people who mix-and-match their entertainment content (I very rarely watch regular television), this may prove to be a better match for them. On the other hand, Crunchyroll is able to simulcasts a lot of new shows fairly quickly from Japan and gives excellent “Deal of the days” pertaining to loads of merchandise, yet Viz is also a solid retailer in itself and no idea if it will also be giving away deals. It should prove to be interesting to watch how things pan out now that Crunchyroll might have some legitimate competition, even a threat to its crown as Streaming Anime King in the U.S.