One of the biggest places to watch anime has acquired one of the other biggest places to watch anime in a deal that’s basically like if Netflix acquired Stan, but (obviously) in an extremely anime-specific way.
AT&T has agreed to sell its Crunchyroll service to Funimation, which is owned by Sony, for just under $US1.2 ($2) billion, the company announced Wednesday evening. The deal still has to go through lots of corporate approvals and whatnot, so each service will run independently until then — but eventually, the two companies will merge under the umbrella of Sony’s ownership.
“We are excited to embark on this new journey,” Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll, said on the site. “Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3M subscribers, 50M social followers and 90M registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon. Combining the strength of the Crunchyroll brand and the expertise of our global team with Funimation is an exciting prospect and a win for the incredible art form of anime.”
“The union of Funimation and Crunchyroll is a win for anime fans around the world that will elevate the art and culture of this medium for decades to come,” Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation Global Group, wrote on the company’s site. “Combining these two great companies will be a win for fans, and enable us to compete at a truly global scale. I am honoured to welcome the wonderful Crunchyroll team to a shared mission — to help everyone belong to the extraordinary world of anime.”
Both sites mention that while fans will no doubt have a lot of questions about how the integration is going to work, all of that will be answered at a later date. For now, fans will just have to wonder if this newfound monopoly on streaming anime is a good thing, as both companies are insisting, or not so good. Whatever the answer is, we’ll find out soon since the deal is in motion.