Breaking News: Japanese Online DVD Rental Service Expands to VOD

And, The New Service Includes Hits From Toei!

Tsutaya Discas, is a service much like Netflix in the US, or Rogers Video Direct in Canada. Tsutaya Dicas loans out DVDs and CDs in Japan through orders online and home deliveries. Last year the company noticed a problem – many titles old and new were very popular and it was difficult to keep enough stock for their members. So in November, the company announced that they were going to begin a new electronic delivery system (Video on Demand) sometime this Spring. Just a few hours ago, it was announced that TOEI has signed on board with this new service and will be offering older titles such as Fist of the North Star, Cyborg 009, and Sailor Moon. Altogether there will be 1500 releases from TOEI offered on this service. According to the press release, the first episode is free, and others will start from ¥105 – which is just under $1 US.

It seems to us that TOEI is really jumping on this VOD bandwagon, with their own online service and VOD integrated with Windows Media Player in Windows Vista. And from what we have read, it’s been successful. Anime VOD services are just starting to take off in North America, especially with some companies making use of new technologies such as Azureus VUZE and Joost(we really love GONG). It’s also a lot cheaper for companies to distribute anime online rather than produce a DVD, but we have read recent surveys that suggest while Anime VOD services are popular, many fans still prefer buying DVDs (especially when they come with neat bonuses like gashapon or other merchandise). We would not be surprised if TOEI were to expand their VOD services to North America within the next few years.

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