SAN FRANCISCO — Crunchyroll has announced that starting in the fall 2014 anime season it will try an experiment with a couple of the shows it licenses: screenshot streams on Twitter.
“With two or three of the shows we license next season, we will send videos each week to a select few Twitter users,” said Kun Gao, co-founder and CEO of Crunchyroll. “They’ll have subtitles included and everything. What those Twitter users will then do is post screenshots to Twitter as they watch the episode, along with their commentary and whatever else they’d like to post. Their followers can read the tweets, and it will be as if they watched the episode themselves.”
Gao said that if the experiment is a success, it could potentially save Crunchyroll a lot of money on bandwidth each season. The cost of subtitling the chosen shows won’t hit them too hard, either, because “we’ll just use our crappy subbers for those shows, who cares?” Gao said.
“Let’s face it, there are lots of garbage anime each season — many of them on our site!” Gao said. “Anime fans will watch anything as long as it’s pretty and shoved in their face, so who cares how much effort is put into it? People already illegally download videos and post screenshots everywhere on Twitter — we see you all out there! We might as well get some benefit from it.”
When asked about the problem of people who want to actually watch video versions of whatever anime Crunchyroll may choose for this experiment, Gao was flippant.
“Why don’t those people fire up the torrents and grab the videos themselves?” Gao said. “I dare you. You’ll come crawling back to us because we’re the legal option that isn’t shit — hi, Funimation! — and we hold all the power. Dance for us, anime fans! Dance!”