Interview Date: 5/13/2013
Over the past two months, we’ve heard rumblings of a new service known as “Daisuki.” We’ve heard many details arise since the unveiling, such as the fact that it’s a joint venture between numerous anime production companies, including Aniplex, Sunrise, Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment, Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), Dentsu, and Asatsu-DK . However, there are still questions that remain unanswered, and many details that people are dying to know.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to get in contact with Eri Maruyama, from the company’s International Business Development division. And, through our conversation, she revealed several interesting tidbits about Daisuki as a whole, and the company’s overall strategy in the anime market.
I’d like to thank Maruyama-san for taking the time to answer our questions.
Anime Herald: Daisuki is an interesting name for the organization. It just (literally) screams “I love you!” What led to your decision to use this, and do you feel the brand is one that will attract customers outside of the core anime audience?
Eri Maruyama: We thought that “DAISUKI” sounds catchy and can be memorized by fans from different countries easily. It is a Japanese vocabulary that many foreign Anime fans are familiar with while not being difficult to pronounce. So, we think the name is suitable for core fans as well as those who are not (or not yet). We hope that fans from all over the world will “daisuki” our service!
Anime Herald: How do you plan to get Daisuki’s name out to the masses? What steps do you plan to take to bring customers to your service?
Eri Maruyama: We will start off with a launching campaign. Also, we are planning to participate in major Anime conventions with a DAISUKI exhibition booth to reach to local fans directly.
Anime Herald: What is the company’s mission? What do you plan to bring to the market as a whole through Daisuki, and where do you see the company in three years?
Eri Maruyama: The main purpose of DAISUKI is to provide legal material to overseas fans. In the last years, legal sites have increased. But DAISUKI is the first service coming directly from Japan. Japanese companies and productions wants to provide their content more directly to the fans. This would be the second mission of DAISUKI: to build a bridge between creators and producers in Japan and Anime fans from all over the world.
Let’s see, in three years… hopefully every Anime fan knows about “DAISUKI”. Ideally, DAISUKI has become the No. 1 stop to watch Japanese Anime content for many Anime fans all over the world.
Anime Herald: What is Daisuki’s target demographic?
Eri Maruyama: Anime fans from all over the world outside Japan! : ) To be more precisely, the main target will be English spoken areas since the language (subtitles) we will offer in the first time will be English only.
Anime Herald: Will Daisuki be available in other North American countries, like Canada or Mexico? Are there plans to make Daisuki available in European countries?
Eri Maruyama: DAISUKI.net will be available world-wide. Some titles and content may be not viewable from some countries though, due to regional rights. This will depend on the title/country but basically, the website and also the web-store will be available world-wide.
Anime Herald: Aside from streaming, what services will you to your prospective market? What value will customers find in Daisuki that they won’t find elsewhere?
Eri Maruyama: There will be a DAISUKI web-store where fans can purchase limited official items, only available at DAISUKI store. Also, thanks to our direct connections to the productions we will be able to provide exclusive footage like making-of material or video messages from creators and voice actors.
Anime Herald: In previous interviews and news reports, it was indicated that Daisuki is working directly with licensees for titles that are already streaming on sites like Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FUNimation. How would you say working with these groups has been? Is there anything you’ve learned from them that has led to improvements in your overall operation?
Eri Maruyama: There has been no direct cooperation yet but we hope to create a good relationship with all legal sites to contribute to the Anime culture. Also do we do not aim to get exclusive users for DAISUKI, so for example sites that are already streaming a title which will be streamed on DAISUKI too, may continue their streaming service.
Anime Herald: Anime News Network reported that Daisuki plans to sell tie-in goods for relevant shows through the site itself. What types of goods do you plan to offer, and will you be pursuing other forms of revenue generation going forward? Will you be offering exclusives to a particular market (e.g. items only available in America, or the like), or Daisuki-exclusive merchandise?
Eri Maruyama:We hope to provide many exclusive products at our DAISUKI store. Soon we may be able to announce the first ones officially. Regarding the revenue generation: The streaming itself will be for free.
Anime Herald: Looking to the more distant future, do you have plans to expand your offerings to titles that aren’t specifically anime but may hold interest to anime fans, such as live-action manga adaptations or offbeat “special interest” titles like Game Center CX?
Eri Maruyama: There are no particular plans we can present at that point, but yes, we are planning to introduce content that is not specifically anime. What we are thinking about in the near future is Game-related and Anime Music-related content.
Anime Herald: What is it that you’d like to change most about the anime industry through Daisuki?
Eri Maruyama: We hope to introduce the Japanese anime culture to a world-wide audience. While doing so providing legal material is important for us. Piracy is a grave problem since studios and creators do not get their revenue, do not get what they deserve. In the long term they won’t be able to create great new content anymore. It’s a threatening danger for the future of Japan’s anime culture. We hope to change this vicious circle, and we believe that fans will pick the legal option under similar conditions.