Funimation’s Anime Content Heads to Crunchyroll
Funimation and Crunchyroll announced on Tuesday that Funimation and Wakanim’s anime library and simulcast content are moving to Crunchyroll on Tuesday. Starting with the spring 2022 season, their newly licensed anime series will only stream on Crunchyroll. Funimation will only stream new episodes of continuing series. Crunchyroll posted a list of all titles heading over to its service, which includes titles with English subtitles and English dubs. This list will continue to be updated. Funimation streamed an announcement trailer:
Funimation, Wakanim, and VRV subscribers of Monday who have not subscribed to Crunchyroll are eligible for a deal to get 60 days of Crunchyroll Premium free.
Accounts for Funimation and Crunchyroll currently remain separate. Existing Funimation digital copy, watch history, or queue will not be transferred to Crunchyroll yet, but Funimation stated that it is working on it.
Sony’s Funimation Global Group completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll from AT&T on August 9. The purchase price was US$1.175 billion, and the proceeds were paid in cash at closing.
Crunchyroll and Funimation first announced the acquisition in December 2020 with a purchase price of US$1.175 billion. The technology website The Information reported in August 2020 that AT&T offered Crunchyroll to Sony for US$1.5 billion and that Sony reported “balked at” the price, which effectively values the streaming service at US$500 per subscriber. Entertainment news source Variety reported that AT&T was shopping the company to multiple potential buyers aside from Sony Pictures Entertainment at that time. Nikkei Asia later reported that in October that Sony was in final negotiations for the Crunchyroll acquisition. At that time, the newspaper reported that Sony “could end up spending more than 100 billion yen ($957 million).”
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 as a streaming service offering anime titles without authorization. The website secured US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock and began licensing titles for streaming in 2008.
The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll in December 2013. The Chernin Group and AT&T formed the joint venture Otter Media in 2014, and Otter Media invested another US$22 million in Crunchyroll’s parent company Ellation in November 2015. AT&T then announced in August 2018 that it acquired all of Otter Media.
The service had reached more than one million subscribers in February 2017, and more than five million subscribers in August 2021.
Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe closed the deal for Crunchyroll to become the majority owner of Viz Media Europe Group last December. The companies announced the agreement in September 2019. Viz Media Europe SAS (Société par Actions Simplifiées or simplified joint-stock company) announced in April 2020 that it changed its name to Crunchyroll SAS. Since the December 2019 deal of Crunchyroll’s majority ownership of Viz Media Europe, Crunchyroll has also owned French anime distributor KAZÉ (the company was integrated with Viz Media Europe in 2009).
Sony History with Anime Streaming Services
Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex consolidated three Sony-owned anime acquisition and distribution companies — Funimation based in the United States, Wakanim based in France, and Madman Anime Group based in Australia — into one joint venture in September 2019. Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in Funimation for US$143 million in 2017. Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll in November 2018, and then signed a first-look streaming deal with Hulu in December 2018. Australian and New Zealand streaming service AnimeLab rebranded into Funimation in June 2021.
In addition to Funimation, Sony owns the subsidiary anime production companies A-1 Pictures and CloverWorks through Aniplex.
Sources: Funimation, Crunchyroll, press release