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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.