[LianYL] Perplexing Media Distro

Last paper of this semester’s final examinations is tomorrow and I have no idea how to start studying for it. I have the entire C++ syllabus in my head since four years ago and it’s just a matter of whether I can shit out some algorithm for the examination questions tomorrow. I have a high tendency to discard my efficient thought process under exam pressure, and that isn’t very good.

In any case, after viewing episode 5 of Macross Frontier, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Woah, so Bollywood flicks do work even when converted to Japanese.” I mean, it really tugs at my heart when Ranka starts singing, and I can sort of understand why Indians love to dance in their movies. The intended surreality is captivating when done right. So under the influence of episode 5 and tjhan, I thought maybe I should give Macross Zero a try. Which happened to be streaming on Crunchyroll.

Crunchyroll, one of the pioneering online streaming services for anime and other unimportant shows. It was a service that I never bothered using when it first appeared and I had a strict high-quality demand for viewing anime. I could never understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through a pixelated nightmare whereby one couldn’t differentiate boobs and butt from eggs and stools. Well, times have changed and services like Veoh have appeared, providing almost unrestricted(VeohTV, pfffft) online streaming of high quality anime comparable to the very first Anime-One Naruto fansubs I watched 7 years ago via Kazaa downloads. It was also only recently when I found out that crappy Crunchyroll now has quality selection providing acceptable streaming images, albeit suffering heavily from audio compression in contrast with Veoh.

There we have it, quality videos, streaming online with close to nil waiting for downloading, available whenever, where ever and anytime as long as we have internet broadband connection. Perhaps the term “broadband” is redundant now that it’s pretty much made default. I couldn’t help but wonder at how long can companies dealing in DVDs survive just by issuing Cease and Desist letters to online streaming sites.

They have tried and failed to clamp down on fansubs. Solid State Society still managed to proliferate online through various unknown sources, under all that clamp down hoo-haa. There are FTP and HTTP sites sprouting everywhere. Even if they do manage to cease distribution within the United States, there’s still China as a copyright obliterating den. To quote my Chinese college calculus tutor, “I doubt China has any ounce of respect for intellectual property.” China even has this XunLei service that acts like some mighty copyright raping penis cannon that allows super high speed downloads.

Before companies could even come up with a decent method to curb such practices, high-quality, high-speed streaming services appeared! Seriously, there are tonnes of episodes on my 500GB HDD that I never, EVER touch and end up deleting all of them during disk space freeing. Streaming has indeed become my best solution to watch anime nowadays. Code Geass RAWs appear on Chinese streaming sites instantaneously; I don’t have to risk copyright laws and I get my fix of hi-res anime with decent audio. HDD space will no longer be wasted and I have stopped downloading ANY anime ever since last December because I get to view them online anytime I want to. I do not equate myself to the entire anime viewing community but I would not doubt the imminent trend ahead. Anime viewers WILL outgrow constant burning of episodes to discs that they will never ever touch again. They WILL outgrow the waiting times for downloads. Online streaming WILL eventually become the ultimate solution to media distribution.

If anime viewers are too lazy to even bother to infringe on copyright laws to get their anime fix, what incentive is there left for them to even purchase the official release? I sought to seek the answer using myself as a subject, and I realise that the only original anime I actually purchase are either classics (Evangelion) or really gorgeous deluxe box sets with promised, high-rated reviews (Kara no Kyoukai). I tried purchasing the cheap original local DVDs but ended up never touching them. The entire set is now collecting dust in my cabinet, nicely wrapped up.

Thus, this brings me to a certain concern: How are anime companies going to efficiently distribute their anime in the future?

I personally foresee that in the future, physical distribution of anime will no longer be sufficient. Along with each DVD or BD sold, an online streaming copy is to be issued too. With high speed internet nowadays, it just isn’t efficient and convenient enough for the customers to tear open their DVD package and pop the disc into whatever player of concern. The internet itself functions perfectly fine as a multimedia player which offers numerous videos and music in exchange of a few clicks. That is the current future of media distribution, whereby physical means are just a bonus which will eventually cease to exist. Deluxe box sets will be a thing of the past, with deluxe online memberships taking its place. What was a physical media battle between the law and pirates on the streets will be taken online, evolving strictly into a DRM vs DRM-free digital battle.

Perhaps one might argue that the internet users just aren’t tech savvy enough to purchase views online. Indeed, but things will change with transition. Your neighbourhood video stores will evolve into kiosks selling online passes and video ownership will no longer feel as personal as before. Perhaps just once in a while, companies may present a vintage-styled Blu-Ray boxset release to appease those yearning for a more personal collection.

We are presently in the midst of the transition. The physical media copyright battles have almost ceased to exist. The world is currently in a state of physical media vs digital media distro war. It wouldn’t be long before the digital war breaks out, leaving behind the legends of transitions from physical to digital to be written into media history textbooks, along with the third world countries.

I guess I have rambled too much. Back to studying. Somewhat.

7 Responses to “[LianYL] Perplexing Media Distro”


  • Yes it’s true that Chinese subs appear almost instantaneously and it’s impossible to stop online streaming for that’s the world we’re living in now.

    I’m actually for your idea where anime companies sell something akin to “online streaming” in the future. Both sides can benefit this; viewers get to watch the episodes that are fresh out of the oven (exact air date, air time) while the pockets of anime companies are filled with money.

  • TOWER OF DRUAGAAAAAAAA!! Anyway whatever happened to the BT revolution lol? Streaming is even less hightech than BT. All the n00bs stream their Naruto and Inuyashas already. I must admit I do not stream because I think the quality sucks still. But that could soon change.

    The reason why we feel a lack of need to store series is because the Internet is the new TV. Did we record down EVER SINGLE show we saw on TV back in the old days? No. Do we watch TV these days? No.

  • It doesn’t matter. All it will amount to is a restructuring of the anime industry, which means the bloated scale at which it is churning out series will soon collapse, just like my CAP if I do not start studying for my last paper now, since it is also scheduled to take place tomorrow. Actually, in a few hours’ time.

    FUCK.

  • Another BT diehard here. I had a watch of both Crunchyroll’s and Bost’s streaming services for Druaga, and the quality was pretty poor, and I couldn’t try Crunchyroll’s downloadable version because their checkout system has failed at every attempt during the last 4 weeks (way to accept my attempts at paying you, Gonzo!). I’m back to the normal process of waiting a day or two for the HD version to crop up on TT with the subs muxed in.

    The internet IS the new TV (or inthe case of Anime; the old TV too, and sometimes the only TV). People aren’t buying as much because they can watch most of it first and realise how utterly terrible the majority of it is before plunking down £20 for the first 3/4 episodes. If your business model relies on tricking people into buying shows they wouldn’t otherwise watch, then you need a new business model (I’m aware ‘business model’ is the wrong term, but I’m a cyberneticist, not an economist!).

  • There will always be a demand for some kind of a physical product tied very closely to video content (not just figurines and karuta); perhaps additional character routes stored in energy crystals or something. :) In any case, I don’t see physical media disappearing anytime soon, or at least not in my lifetime being a fan, especially now that they’ve just started to churn out Blu-ray discs.

    But I do think streaming is in its element. Google/YouTube have some nice ideas on how to monetize those unauthorised video streams, but even if those fail and the industry doesn’t come up with any good ideas on how to make a decent living, it will scale down as mentioned and only the loyal fans will support it in one way or the other. The fact that people aren’t paying for stuff isn’t scary by itself, it’s combined with the rationale that anime is becoming “free medicine” that you take after school or work. Disposable, digestible media without any real worth. When new generations take our place, the industry may as well be boned. I guess that’s what old fan generations thought about us too, huh…

  • is kara no kyoukai dvd out already? the previews are so tempting

  • I have watched on youtube (yes, it was bad. No I didn’t really care) and crunchyroll and now I watch on veoh. I must say, the quality (of veoh atleast) is great and thus I agree with you that there is a certain market if companies wanted to get you to pay to stream, isntead of pay to own a DVD. To be honest though- what about age limits? Would you have to pay online to get these streams? Thus, anime would be blocked off to yougner viewers who would still turn to illegal routes. Or are you talking free streaming? Caus that wouldn’t make much money for the industry and would just be the same as what is already happening with veoh…

    Also agree with Miha, there is something cool about owning something physical (if you can afford it). Though, to be honest, it’s nice being able to ramndomly start watching it, drop it or continue watching at leisure and only worry about how your bandwidth is affected!

    And of course with Blu-ray…you never know what’s gonna happen next. Though probably only the really good anime or just anime films like Ghibli and ghost in shell (only ones I can think off) will make it on blue-ray as it stands now.

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