According to financial newspaper Nikkei, anime production company Asatsu-DK is planning to begin streaming subtitled anime series in April. So watch out Crunchyroll, you’ve got competition on the way!
It is currently known that six major anime companies (Toei Animation, Aniplex, Sunrise, TMS Entertainment, Nihon Ad Systems, Dentsu) are investing in this project, expecting to translate and host as much as 500 titles. As most streaming sites do to stay afloat, they plan to utilize fees and advertising to keep running.
The newspaper article also notes that Toei’s One Piece and Sunrise’s Gundam series have garnered many overseas fans, which is just but a small fraction as to why this streaming project is under way. By June, the project hopes to add in online commerce by possibly selling anime-related goods. This is great seeing as the site will be directly influenced by the anime production companies themselves, allowing for purchase of legitimate licensed stuff.
Until now, this kind of thing has been handled by third party streaming services, such as Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Crackle. This is a great plan to band together and increase revenue for the industry.
UPDATE: Titles confirmed to be streamed include Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mobile Suit Gundam, One Piece, Lupin the 3rd, and Prince of Tennis. Simulcasting is also planned for the service.