Sony is adding some crunch to their portfolio. AT&T is selling anime-focused streamer Crunchyroll to Sony for nearly $1.2 billion as part of its ongoing effort to streamline its assets.
Crunchyroll, which was previously part of WarnerMedia’s Otter Media segment, will now be part of Funimation, the joint venture between Sony Pictures and Sony Music’s Aniplex. The deal will give Funimation control over a direct-to-consumer brand with 3 million subscribers and over 90 million registered users.
Funimation has worked to become a dominant force in the streaming of anime. They have reached multiple deals and acquisitions to consolidate the distribution rights for anime in North America and beyond. Over the past year, Funimation has added streaming services from all over the world such as the French based Wakanim, Australia based AnimeLab, as well as a recent expansion into Latin America with Funimation Now in November. Crunchyroll will not only bring in over 1,000 shows but also 67 million free subscribers and 3 million paid subscribers from their platform. Now with the addition of Crunchyroll, Funimation is poised to streamline their channels and be able to push their current services farther through the studios of Crunchyroll.
Funimation has a streaming service in place, but with Crunchyroll they are going to be able to explode with additions to their library. In addition to that, they will come into possession all of the original content Crunchyroll has been working on with additions in anime, manga, and games. Funimation will be able to provide in-house content to their subscribers in a way they hadn’t been able to before. It will be interesting to see how Funimation proceeds with these originals since the anime originals had just begun this year.
Does Funimation have plans of creating their own originals and acquired Crunchyroll because they have already started? Furthermore, will we continue to see Crunchyroll Originals being developed in partnership with Webtoon Productions. Tower of God, God of High School, and Noblesse are three of the Crunchyroll Originals hailing from the Webtoons comics service and had shined a light on this platform in a big way. I hope they continue working with Webtoon Productions to create nontraditional anime being developed by creators from home and shine a light on the great stories being created.
I’m curious how Funimation will move forward after the acquisition of Crunchyroll. A focus will be how Funimation handles the projects that Crunchyroll had already put into place, and where the streaming service will be going forward. Will we see the Crunchyroll’s platform fold into the Funimation streaming service? Will they work as an independent studio? Only time will tell, but as anime becomes more mainstream it will be interesting to see how the market will transform and grow.
What do you think of Funimation acquiring Crunchyroll? Leave a comment with your thoughts!
The information in this article was previously shared by The Hollywood Reporter