Sunday 16 August 2015
Anime news: Viewster's subscription service is coming
I've been talking about Swiss-based video service Viewster in my anime posts for a while now. As the only worthwhile rival to Crunchyroll in the field of legal anime streaming which serves the UK, I've been very interested in seeing them gradually increasing their support for anime fans.
There's a lot about Viewster I like. They have a bunch of FUNimation titles which will never appear on Crunchyroll at all for political reasons, they are responsive to customer feedback, they understand the simple concept of people being multilingual and don't lock the language of their subtitles according to the viewer's country, and they have a strong European focus - instead of treating us as a bunch of foreign pirates like most of the US-centric services.
It's been great watching all of these FUNimation and Anime Limited titles for free in recent seasons while still supporting the industry but I've often lamented how irritating the ads are. I don't have television so to have my viewing interrupted isn't an experience to which I have ever become accustomed, and one of the strengths of Crunchyroll has always been that you can choose to pay a small fee if you want to watch in 'premium' quality without the interruptions.
Well, it turns out that Viewster have been listening and they've recently announced that they are going to be offering a paid subscription service for users who want to watch in higher definition and without advertisements. It appears that the new 'OMAKASE' service will experiment with a few premium bonuses such as boxes of goodies for those in a select number of countries. I suspect this will be a short term scheme to try to make their offering stand out from the competitors, even if I'd personally prefer they focused on the streaming side and kept it international.
While the free ad-supported service will still be available, those who choose to subscribe can start signing up to try out the premium service while it's in its early stages. The best part is that they're not asking for any money or commitment at the moment.
If anyone wants to give the service a try, my sign-up link is here - if I can get 20 people to sign up they'll give me something (I have no illusions about being popular enough to actually achieve that). Still, I'd genuinely like more people to give Viewster a try in the hope that Europe can finally have a proper unified streaming service one day. Dividing the region up into smaller groups of countries which can't support anime releases at all has left most of us lagging far behind the US.
(Maybe one day, the Sengoku Basara Judge End anime will even stream in full to my country. I've still never seen it with its official translation, despite being one of the minority of fans who openly enjoyed it.)