When it comes to watching anime online, there have always been two primary streaming platforms: Funimation and Crunchyroll. Each streaming service has had its own share of heavyweight series with which to tempt viewers, but the line between them is about to be crossed out as they do the fusion dance and combine into one entity.
Sony’s Funimation department has purchased Crunchyroll from its parent AT&T for a staggering $1.175 billion, in a deal that will allow both platforms to operate independently until the usual regulatory review and approval is complete. “The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job of not only growing the Crunchyroll brand but also building a passionate community of anime fans. Crunchyroll’s success is a direct result of the company’s culture and commitment to their fans,” said WarnerMedia executive Tony Goncalves in a statement.
By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring more anime to more people. I’m incredibly proud of the Crunchyroll team and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short period of time. They’ve created an end-to-end global ecosystem for this incredible art form.
There’s still a few technicalities to sign before the deal is done, but the ramifications are massive. It’s basically the anime equivalent of Disney buying DC Comics and adding Batman to the next Doctor Strange movie.Sony has revealed in previous reports that anime has been big business and that it intended to use that form of entertainment to create a new support pillar within the company, in much the same way that its film and gaming divisions have been added to its support structures.
Sony has years of experience with the anime business, with Funimation in particular being one of the biggest North American anime distributors. AT&T on the other hand, is in hot water lately both financially and over its recent decision to go all in with HBO Max and the 2021 Warner Bros. movie slate, a move that has pissed off just about everyone in Hollywood.
It’s likely that Crunchyroll’s library and branding will be absorbed into Funimation, creating one gigantic streaming arsenal of giant robots, power-ups, and slice of life high school dramas that I just can’t get enough of.
Last Updated: December 10, 2020