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Netflix should start to simulcast its content

Netflix should start to simulcast its content

Netflix should start to simulcast its content
November 07
12:31 2019

Streaming is one of the most convenient innovations in the entertainment industry to date. Not only can I watch whatever I want, wherever I want and whenever I want, I also get exposed to shows and other assorted content that I might never have had a chance of seeing if I stuck to regular television.

The big names in online streaming are Hulu, Amazon and of course, Netflix. But there’s a certain practice that Netflix lacks when compared to its competitors by the name of simulcasting. Simulcasting is a contraction of the term “simultaneous broadcasting” and usually refers to the availability to watch a show on a streaming platform within the 24 hours of it having aired on television. 

With shows produced by Netflix or shows that have already ended this isn’t really an issue, but Netflix is failing to support shows that arguably need simulcasting, like anime. A prime example this season would “Beastars.”

A recent adaptation of long-running manga series, “Beastars” instantly captivated me with its initial trailers and visuals. The show is being animated by Studio Orange, famous for its breathtakingly fluid 3D CGI animation.

Upon further research, I was further intrigued by the show’s premise and positive reviews of the manga. I became absolutely sold after viewing the opening animation, a dazzling stop-motion sequence accompanied by the enchanting jazz song “Wild Side” by Ali. I learned that Netflix would host the show and anticipated myself for its airing date in early October.

So imagine my surprise and disappointment after finding out Netflix would not be simulcasting the show, at least not in the U.S.

Netflix is actually simulcasting the show in Japan as each show airs on Fuji TV, but it appears that everyone else in the world has to wait. With no confirmed release date, we’ll most likely receive the show in the US after it finishes airing in Japan, which means late December if we’re lucky.

I was frustrated knowing it might be months before I could watch this show, and long-time fans of the manga appear to be even more frustrated. I could understand if an English voice-over of the show would be too expensive for Netflix to handle, but I’m skeptical that they can’t afford weekly English subtitles, especially when other streaming platforms already simulcast anime with English subtitles.

The target demographic for shows like “Beastars” want to watch it as soon as it comes out, not three or more months after. This presents a new problem for Netflix, as the prime audience for its exclusive show will then proceed to use discouraged methods to view the show, like illegal websites with English subtitles written by fans, or VPNs, which Netflix prohibits in their “terms of service”

While releasing the full season of a show may help for larger series or ones that are heavily advertised by Netflix, smaller or foreign shows like “Beastars” could benefit more from simulcasting.

 As it is right now, I’m afraid Netflix just isn’t going to advertise this show and just shadow release it next spring. There’s all this traction and attention that shows like “Beastars” deserve to get as they air, but U.S. Netflix refuses to profit on.

By refusing to simulcast “Beastars” with English subtitles, Netflix is actively pushing away the show’s target audience, and taking away from all the exposure and buzz the show could have already been receiving.

It also looks bad on Netflix when it’s competitors are already simulsubbing anime as they air in Japan.

So unless Netflix plans to run a full-fledged advertisement campaign for “Beastars,” it is actively robbing this show of the awareness it needs to succeed.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne

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