Kadokawa Group Holdings (Kadokawa GHD) has begun streaming feature films, TV dramas and animation titles from its library through mobile giant NTT DoCoMo's i-mode cell phone internet connection service.
Short films, music videos and animation clips have been popular mainstays in recent years, but Kadokawa's service marks the first time a Japanese studio has offered feature films over cellular networks.
Dubbed i-Movie Gate, subscribers pay $4.30 (Y525) or $8.60 (Y1050) per month to buy points which can be used to purchase different types of video contents. A feature film requires 350 points, while 30-minute TV dramas and animated programmes require 200 points. Streamed contents can be watched an unlimited amount of times over a one-week period.
Library feature film titles include Genghis Khan producer Haruki Kadokawa's popular 1983 titles Detective Story and The Little Girl Who Conquered Time. Animation contents include the Neon Genesis Evangelion series.
Plans for fixed pricing schemes are in the works to offset the larger amount of data streamed for feature films. Kadokawa plans to forge deals with Japan 's other major mobile providers, KDDI and SoftBank.
Currently, 130 titles are available, with plans to offer an additional 370 by this fall.
Approximately 30 million DoCoMo subscribers currently use phone models that will work with the service.
Last November, DoCoMo invested $34.45m (Y4bn) in a tie-up with Kadokawa GHD. The deal facilitated Kadokawa's strategy to expand its mobile contents business through DoCoMo's extensive network of 52 million subscribers and DoCoMo's desire to enter feature film production consortiums.
This February, Kadokawa's stateside subsidiary, Kadokawa Pictures USA (California) partnered with California 's BitTorrent Inc to offer library titles such as the original Ring and One Missed Call over the internet.