Neon Alley: Exclusive Interview with Brian Ige, Vice President of Animation at VIZ Media
Neon Alley officially launched on Tuesday, October 2nd for US and Canadians fans (*Excluding Quebec)
Neon Alley is a new service available to watch various of Anime for 6.99$/month and will be running 24/7 with minimum ads, English Dub and Uncut episodes on the PlayStation 3. Shows like Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, Inuyasha and One Piece will have two to three back to back episodes daily, others will have time slot and run a single episode a day, all shows have multiple time slots. This service only has English DUB, and we are told that there are no plans to make English SUBS available.
Last week we were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Brian Ige, Vice President of Animation at VIZ Media about Neon Alley! Thank you again Brian for giving us the opportunity to interview you!
AngryAnimeBitches: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Brian Ige: I’ve been in the entertainment industry for approximately 14 years now, working in all facets of the business including sales, distribution, marketing, business development, & content acquisition. VIZ has been my home now for over 7 years, starting as a sales manager for both manga & anime, I was able to work my way up and now lead the day-to-day business of the animation group. Working in this space has been both challenging and rewarding, VIZ Media is constantly exploring new methods to deliver content to our fans in a meaningful way which is how we came up with the Neon Alley concept.
AngryAnimeBitches: How often do you plan to add new titles to Neon Alley and how many do they have in mind for the future?
Brian Ige: We plan to add new series every six months but there may be exceptions for older titles that have been available through other broadcasters or media.
AngryAnimeBitches: Does Neon Alley have plans to expand to the Wii, XBOX consoles as well as Tablets, Smartphones and Online streaming?
Brian Ige: For now we are exclusively available through the PlayStation 3 and can’t confirm any additional platforms at this time.
AngryAnimeBitches: Of all the systems you chose, what predominately moved you to choose PlayStation 3 as the console choice?
Brian Ige: PlayStation is our exclusive launch partner, we have a great relationship with PlayStation and they distribute our Download-To-Own digital product. We saw a lot of anime fans downloading episodes through the store; at times the sales were on par with major studio content, so we felt that there was a very focused audience on PlayStation that was interested in anime.
AngryAnimeBitches: In the future, does Viz Media plan to gain the license rights and add Eng Subs of the new seasonal titles like Crunchyroll does right now, but make it available on the channel itself?
Brian Ige: The channel is focused on English dubbed anime; there are a variety of other websites and platforms for subtitled content. We wanted to find a solution to supplement the TV market since we’ve seen a significant decline in the amount of dubbed anime being broadcasted.
AngryAnimeBitches: For future reference, once the anime for ex: Tiger and Bunny completed airing on Neon Alley, will there be a break and withdraw? Or will it start from the beginning again?
Brian Ige: We’re currently working on our programming strategy, there will be opportunities for fans to catch up or start the series all over through repeats but breaks or taking down the series has not been confirmed at this time.
AngryAnimeBitches: You said before your focus is on dubbed anime, why would you say that preference is? Do you feel streaming it on the PlayStation 3 is a more viable option than making it a cable only channel?
Brian Ige: There are multiple options for viewing subtitled content in the market already which is why we wanted to focus on the dubbed content. We also feel that the dubbed content can help to expand anime beyond just the core fan base. We wanted to find a distribution platform that had a more concentrated audience, gaming consoles in general seemed like the perfect match given our success with our digital product. There are multiple hurdles with TV that we wanted to avoid like being a part of cable or satellite, part of a particular cable package, territory availability. Gaming consoles in general help us overcome these hurdles and allow us to do things like make the channel available in Canada. There is no need to purchase a cable package that includes 50 other channels that you are not interested in, when really all you want to watch is a channel dedicated to anime.
AngryAnimeBitches: Are there Close Captions available for the Hearing Impaired?
Brian Ige: We do not plan to have closed caption at this time.
AngryAnimeBitches: Do you plan to add that in the future?
Brian Ige: Nothing planned for now as there are options for subtitled content already available in the market.
AngryAnimeBitches: Do you plan to allow Paypal as a payment method?
Brian Ige: We’re looking at adding on different payment options in the future and will be taking this into consideration as part of our future expansion.
AngryAnimeBitches: Do you foresee a small additional fee to maybe be able to go back and watch shows that already aired, much like tivo or recording might do?
Brian Ige: “On Demand” is another option that we are looking at and will be considering as we continue to build our platform.
AngryAnimeBitches: Finally, would you say the program is more intent upon the selling and production of dubbed anime, or is merely a conduit to further build more anime sales and give more options for those with PS3 consoles to receive anime?
Brian Ige: Its really an effort to help expand the current anime audience, by doing this it should in turn stimulate sales which will allow more anime to be brought over from Japan. This initiative was built for the anime category and a supplement to the existing TV market which is why we have content from multiple studios.
AngryAnimeBitches: As a fun question, of all the upcoming series on Neon Alley what is the one you enjoy the most and why?
Brian Ige: Tiger & Bunny is one of my favorites on the channel, the superhero element has a lot of cross over appeal and it’s something that I can relate to.
AngryAnimeBitches: Thank you Brian for taking the time to answer the questions. :)
If you have any more questions about Neon Alley and how it works, be sure to check out their FAQ page!
Below I’ve listed out what is currently on Neon Alley. The list is continuously growing, so not all the shows are actually listed on Neon Alley’s show page yet. Be sure to check often, and in particular at Neon Alley’s Facebook Page and Twitter.
What Anime will be Available?
*Check Schedule Here
- Tiger & Bunny *Premiering In English Exclusively on Neon Alley
- Blue Exorcist *Premiering In English Exclusively on Neon Alley
- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan *Premiering In English Exclusively on Neon Alley
- Inuyasha: The Final Act *Premiering In English Exclusively on Neon Alley
- Vampire Knight
- Buso Renkin
- Death Note
- One Piece
- Naruto Shippuden
Rinne no Lagrange
Vampire Knight Guilty *Exclusively on Neon Alley
Naruto Shippuden *New Episodes
It saddens me that myself and many others here in Quebec, Canada will not have the opportunity to try out or even subscribe to Neon Alley due to the infamous Language Laws. But for those who enjoy English Dubs and are able to subscribe, do give it a shot- there is after all a 1 Week Free Trial, might as well put it to use! :3