Crunchyroll Sold To Funimation In One Of The Biggest Anime Mergers Ever
The Disney and Fox merger was huge. It’s effects rippled through the entire entertainment industry. But now a new merger looks to be on a similar level, affecting the anime industry all over the world, in an unprecedented way. We found out today and Sony’s Funimation bought Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia, consolidating the two biggest anime streamers in the market. There were rumors and rumblings of this for months, but now it’s official that Crunchyroll will become a part of Funimation under Sony.
The Funimation Vs. Crunchyroll Wars Are Over
Image via Funimation
For the longest time, both Funimation and Crunchyroll were the leading anime platforms on the market. In terms of distribution, they were the Marvel and DC of streaming anime. Both provided a huge library of new and classic anime content, including streaming exclusives, 1st day English dubs, and original content. Sony bought Funimation in 2017, strengthening their hold on the anime market, expanding their reach internationally. WarnerMedia bought Crunchyroll in 2018, and the streamer grew steadily over the years. However, since AT&T purchased WarnerMedia, the company is looking to divest some of their assets. In selling Crunchyroll to Funimation, WarnerMedia essentially ceded the entire streaming anime market to Sony.
Just recently, Crunchyroll revealed their Crunchyroll Originals line-up, featuring content exclusively created by them. God Of High School and Tower Of God are but a few of the Crunchyroll Originals line up, well received by critics and fans. Poised to pull ahead in this battle, Funimation just bought their biggest competitor. How these services change and merge over the next few years will dramatically shake up the industry. There is only so much content one service can afford to finance.
With Two Anime Streamers In One, What’s Next?
Image via Crunchyroll.
We reported a few months ago that WarnerMedia was looking to sell off Crunchyroll for around $1.5 Billion. Funimation bought Crunchyroll now for close to $1.2 Billion, as per Variety, which was not unexpected. WarnerMedia is putting all their eggs into their HBO Max basket, moving even theatrical releases to the streamer. So it makes sense that they wouldn’t need to sustain a separate streaming service for anime. Especially considering that they could probably just license a variety of anime from others, similar to how they got the rights for the Studio Ghibli movies.
With Funimation’s purchase of Crunchyroll, it leaves us with a lot of questions about the state of the anime streaming market. Will all Crunchyroll originals and exclusives become a part of the Funimation brand, thereby making the Crunchyroll service defunct? Or will they retain the Crunchyroll brand as a separate home, distinguishing between the kind of programming available on each? Similar to what Disney is doing with Disney Plus and Hulu. This also means that there is now one anime streamer now that could rival Netflix’s current catalog of licensed and original anime content. No word yet on when the changes will impact the end-user, or how.
So how do you feel about Funimation buying Crunchyroll? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Crunchyroll.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.