Within the past few weeks, Funimation’s weekly streams of Psycho-Pass have been the subject of much activity in fansub circles, though not for the normal reasons usually cited.
Mounting evidence suggests that the company’s web portal has been the source of recent episode leaks ahead of scheduled streaming times, with this past week’s Episode 4 being a particular target, as its TV broadcast was delayed due to a soccer match, while the stream was subsequently delayed by 90 minutes from its standard streaming time, only to have the episode leak at least 4 hours before its online premiere in the US, judging by activity on MyAnimeList and AnimeSuki.
While this would suggest a larger problem with Funimation’s infrastructure, the fact that this is only happening consistently with Psycho-Pass and none of the other simulcasts are being affected may also suggest that this show is a specific target while other shows are being ignored.
Below, the specific timelines for the Episode 4 leak:
The first torrent, “[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS – 04 [480p]. mkv” was
uploaded to a popular aggregation site at 24:09 JST (11:09 EST / 15:09
UTC) on November 1st.
Episode 4 of Psycho-Pass began airing in Japan at 26:15 JST (13:15
EST/17:15UTC) on November 1st, 90 min after its regular airtime of
JP Airtime (Nov 1st):
(26:15 JST = 13:15 EST = 17:15 UTC)
Standard JP Airtime
(24:45 JST = 11:45 EST = 15:45 UTC)
This latest leak follows the quiet leak of the first episode on October 10th from Funimation’s servers, hours before its scheduled online premiere, though it apparently went unnoticed as the online premiere went on as scheduled. This recent spike in activity, especially for a high-profile show in Psycho-Pass does not bode well for the distributor, as it seeks to improve its online streaming portal and related streaming options after months of complaints from users.
However, if this activity does continue without a concerted effort to address the underlying problems, Funimation risks another Fractale-level debacle on its hands, and that’s something it can ill afford at this point, since its video portal is a source of palpable frustration for both free and paid users. To have a string of consistent leaks week after week for the same show will put its relationship with its partners at risk and it will cost them more than just viewers, it may cost them credibility with the Japanese industry, something they need more than the revenue from their streaming options at the present time.
What good does a barn door do when it’s left completely open, only to go back and close it once the cows rush out?