Earlier this week, ADV began offering the first episode of Coyote Ragtime Show streaming free via IGN as a way to promote the show.  We caught up with ADV Senior Vice President Mike Bailiff with some questions about the program, which will continue for future series.  ADV's first streaming project promoting Guyver (see 'ADV Plans Major Online Campaign for 'Guyver') launched in September.


Why did ADV choose IGN for streaming rather than its own Website?

Well as you know we launched our digital download site, ADV Universe, back in September, and that's been going gangbusters.  Exclusive content and sneak previews (not to mention downloads) have played a key role in growing ADV Universe, and that's not going to change.  It's really the one-stop shop for everything ADV.


That said, Coyote Ragtime Show has appeal far beyond the core anime community.  Given the action, the plot, and the overall spectacle, I can't think of a better fit than IGN.  This is tailor-made for them, since IGN.com is the world's #1 gaming and entertainment destination.  Obviously we're very pleased to be working with them!


Coyote Ragtime Show was your second IGN streaming project (Guyver was the first); will you continue to expose your top new anime series in this fashion?

We are planning to stream the first episode of both Air Gear and Le Chevalier D'eon on IGN this January.  I think everyone would agree these are important series with breakout potential, and we want to expose them to a broad audience beyond the anime community.  I do want to say that streaming and third party broadcasts are just one of the tools in our arsenal.  Every month we're previewing new series via Newtype USA's disc.  We also send a preview DVD to thousands of anime clubs throughout the country every month as part of our Anime ADVocates program.  And then there are all the series we debut on our cable channel, Anime Network.  Plus you have the big conventions that we partner with Best Buy at, and they're a big part of creating buzz on series.  For instance, we're screening Blade of The Phantom Master at New York Comic Con in February, and that's two months before it streets. 


The important thing is to keep things fresh.  People have so many entertainment options these days--the last thing you want is to become background static.  You can't let yourself get stale with the same old promotions.  That's just not ADV's style.


Is the streaming of first episodes a trend that you see continuing throughout the industry?

I think everyone is exploring how best to exploit the Internet, which is itself constantly changing.  Anime fans are pretty tech savvy, and it can be a challenge to keep up with all the different ways they engage the Web.   That's why it is so important not to get bogged down in a single way of thinking about the Web--or a single Web promotion.


Do you think this kind of exposure works better for a particular genre of anime (comedy, mecha, horror) etc.?

In one sense the Internet is like any other medium:  what's popular is what's popular.  A show with broad appeal like Coyote Ragtime is going to gain a big audience because it's action-driven science fiction.  That's a formula familiar to anyone who goes to the movies, not just anime fans.


Whatever the genre, I think action-driven shows are going to do better, broadly speaking, than other types of anime.  But that's just a hunch based on what works everywhere else.


With the shortening window between when series debut in Japan and then on DVD in the U.S. does streaming make more sense as a sort of replacement for whatever marketing effects that fansubbing provided in the past?

The way I see it, streaming is just part of what constitutes 'word of mouth' in this business.  People just talking about anime they like on fan forums is probably a bigger factor than anything else. 


I think there's value to people seeing what it is we have to offer them, and I think sharing a full episode is better than just showing a trailer many times.  Anime isn't like your standard American cartoon.  It takes more than a few minutes to get the nuances of a show, not to mention the fact that the stories are so complex.  So when we have a good pilot, I like to share it:  on the Internet, through Newtype USA, to our anime clubs - anywhere a series is likely to find its audience.