Similar to what HBO Max made in 2021, netflix launched a ad-supported plan early November. At a cheaper price, it’s the streamer’s way of attracting more users to balance their loss of subscribers from the start of the year. That alone would be remarkable, given Netflix previous comments about bringing ads to its service, but the existence of the new plan also has unintended consequences for the streamer’s anime selection.
Recently, Japan time reported that the country broadcast network NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) asked Netflix to remove 22 anime titles previously aired by NHK from its catalog, even for plans without advertising. All this stems from NHK Standards for Internet Services: it does not distribute programs if there is any chance that viewers will believe the network is directly recommend a specific product. Beyond that, NHK was allegedly misled about what the Basic with Ads plan really was. Whereas the network initially agreed to have its shows included, NHK claims that Netflix didn’t really explain the purpose of service until shortly before launch.
In a statement provided to the Japan Times, Netflix said it was since stopped airing commercials on NHK programs. Shows currently or previously airing on NHK that are featured on Netflix include Vinland Saga, to your eternity, and The attack of the Titans. For those with multiple streaming services, here’s some good news: The attack of the Titans is also on Hulu, and of Vinland The second season will premiere on Crunchyroll in January 2023, so its first season might be jumping ship. But as of this writing, neither side has said which shows might be affected as they continue negotiations.
The possibility of Netflix losing nearly two dozen anime is definitely a setback, as was the case added anime to its programming fairly regularly in recent years. With the popularity of anime over the years, and how weird broadcasting rights can sometimes get shows, other services could easily grab all the affected shows and their specific fanbases, providing another hit to Netflix’s subscriber numbers.
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