The world of anime streaming services is about to change dramatically. In a press release this evening, the Sony Funimation Global Group has announced that its acquisition of streaming service Crunchyroll is now complete. Purchased for approximately $1.175 billion, this means that two of the biggest distributors of anime in the west will soon be operating under the same banner.
Big news! Crunchyroll will continue its commitment to anime and its fans, now under Sony Funimation Global Group.
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) August 9, 2021
Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, CEO, and president of the Sony Group Corporation said in a press release, “We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group. Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe. The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community.”
Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. added, “With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose, from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV — everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime. Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”
In isolation, this doesn’t sound like the end of the world. Consolidating all anime into one service will only help spread awareness of lesser-known series to people that would have otherwise ignored them. On the other hand, merging the two major services together only serves to create a monopoly and may potentially shut out more experimental series from ever making the jump overseas.
For the time being, no details about how this merger will change the current order of things have been detailed. What is likely to happen is that subscribers to either Funimation or Crunchyroll will be given a unified account to access different shows on either platform. That or both apps will continue to exist with shows from the other popping up. Who really knows?
Source: Sony Pictures