Sony close to acquiring anime service Crunchyroll for almost $1 billion


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In a nutshell: Sony is close to acquiring popular anime-streaming service Crunchyroll for more than 100 billion yen ($957 million), adding to its growing stable of animation businesses.

Nikkei Asia reports that Sony is now in final negations to purchase San Francisco-based Crunchyroll, which was founded in 2006 and has been a subsidiary of Otter Media, itself a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia, since 2018. Available on the Xbox, PlayStation, streaming devices, and phones in more than 200 countries, Crunchyroll boasts 70 million free members and 3 million paying subscribers.

Crunchyroll will be joining other animation groups under the Sony banner, including production company Aniplex, distributor Madman, studios CloverWorks and A-1 Pictures, and Funimation, which Sony bought for $143 million in 2017.

It’s possible that PlayStation users could receive discounts on Crunchyroll at some point. As noted by PSU, Sony ran a promotion earlier this year in which two free months of the Funimation Premium anime streaming service was offered to PlayStation Plus subscribers. We might even see all of Sony’s animation arms rolled into one massive anime streaming service.

Animated features are experiencing a boom time right now. Shows such as Castlevania and Blood of Zeus are proving very popular on Netflix, and the slew of animated shows on Disney Plus is part of the service’s appeal. Nikkei Asia writes that, according to The Association of Japanese Animations, the global anime market in 2018 was worth about $21 billion, 1.5 times that of five years earlier.

The coronavirus has seen the home entertainment market flourish as industries such as theaters and airlines suffer, and Sony isn’t standing still when it comes to investing in more streaming content.

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Posts: 245   +232
I still remember the early days of crunchyroll when they were illegally distributing shows and movies ;)
Uhm, I thought the Judge only ruled certain ones illegal(DBZ I believe was what got them caught), like if they had a publisher release it in the US for Sale then it becomes illegal, but Japanese language with hard subs was ruled ok as the companies never made the effort for global release to profit from, aka if they didn't put in the effort they can't claim it's an infringement.


Posts: 592   +389
Buying Crunchyroll right now just seems stupid. A lot of the huge studios in Japan are going to be releasing anime for free on YouTube.


Posts: 3,065   +784
I hope they don't sell, I don't watch much anime but I used the site a few times to find free episodes.


Posts: 592   +389
Having a good distribution platform with a relatively well known name, and as a bonus, with access to new popular exclusive IPs co-produced with Webtoon attached to it, is worth investing into.
I guess. Itd be like Netflix losing most of its content because the studios are putting it on YouTube. Exclusive IP's are great, but they won't keep the platform afloat.
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Posts: 1,012   +629
I still remember the early days of crunchyroll when they were illegally distributing shows and movies ;)
It was fantastic back then and it is getting better now.

I still find it frustrating that not all episodes/seasons are available for different anime. Legal licensing BS like this will always give pirates an edge.
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Posts: 944   +516
CR right now is not that great, the free illegal services offer better UI and bookmarking etc. even!.

I hope Sony doesn't just buy it to shut it down or something and actually improves the service and content.
Licensing of shows is really just terrible for the consumer, funimation sits on a bunch and CR can't access it 😠

I don't wanna see anime anywhere near my PlayStation.
I don't want to see hater comments, but yet there it is. smh.