Two anime streaming giants have merged into one.
Sony plans to create the ultimate streaming service that streams anime. Sony Pictures Entertainment has now officially acquired the popular anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.175 billion on Monday. In addition, it has outlined plans to combine it with its own Funimation offering to create one service.
This is excellent news for the rapidly expanding anime fan base. Imagine Hulu and Disney Plus acquiring HBO Max. Only anime.
“With Crunchyroll’s addition, we have an unprecedented chance to serve anime fans as never before and deliver anime across any platform they select, from theatrical, home entertainment, games and streaming, TV. Anywhere and everywhere fans want to experience their anime,”
Tony Vinciquerra (chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment) stated in a statement.
Our goal is to provide a seamless anime subscription experience as quickly as possible.
“Anime is a rapidly expanding medium that enthralls, inspires emotion among audiences across the globe,” Kenichiro Yoshida (chairman and CEO of Sony Group) stated in the statement.
“The combination of Crunchyroll & Funimation will allow us to be closer to the creators & fans that are at the heart of the anime community.”
Crunchyroll: What’s it all about?
Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service, currently has five million subscribers and 120 million registered users. It distributes anime such as Naruto or One Piece and licenses them. However, it also distributes manga — the Japanese comics that these shows are often based on.
What is Funimation?
Funimation, a company similar to Crunchyroll in that it distributes subbed or dubbed anime throughout western countries such as the US, is called Funimation. It holds the license to large shows such as Attack on Titan and Dragonball Z.
Sony plans to consolidate both services under one roof. It remains to be seen if this means incorporating Crunchyroll content into Funimation or creating a new service entirely. It’s most likely the former. It’s worth mentioning that many major anime shows are already available on Crunchyroll as well as Funimation.
The deal was probed by the US Department of Justice in place of the worry this deal would create a monopoly over anime streaming in the West. However, this was not the case, as significant streaming services like Netflix have invested heavily in anime.
Funimation could be updated with additional content soon.
“We know you may have questions,” read a statement published on Crunchyroll. “Today, we start the work of bringing together two exceptional teams to bring you more. We are grateful for your support and trust.
Anime fans who subscribe to Crunchyroll or Funimation aren’t too happy despite the positive spins from both Crunchyroll and Funimation. It’s not clear what the future holds for anime content in the West as of now.
Translators of western shows are also at risk. While the potential to pay one streaming service for anime is appealing, some anime fans are concerned about the impact this monopoly could have on quality translations.
This story will be updated as soon as more information becomes available. While the potential to pay one streaming service for anime is appealing, some anime fans worry about the impact this monopoly could have on quality translations.