Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (SPE) has finalised the deal to buy the anime streaming site Crunchyroll for a sizable R17 billion, in a deal that’s been on the cards for nearly a year at least. It’s a little more complicated than that, with parent companies and majority shares and joint ventures, but the gist of it is now SPE controls both the Funimation and Crunchyroll anime streaming sites.
Crunchyroll + Funimation = ???
SPE’s CEO Tony Vinciquerra said the company’s next goal is to “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.” But that’s all we’re getting for now. No concrete details yet on what that will look like, when it’ll happen or what it means for subscribers of either platform. For now, both sites will continue to exist and operate as they have been.
Big news! Crunchyroll will continue its commitment to anime and its fans, now under Sony Funimation Global Group.
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) August 9, 2021
The deal was first announced in November last year. At that time the streaming service said it had 3 million subscribers and over 90 million registered users across over 200 countries. Those numbers have since risen to 5 million and 120 million respectively. All that from a company that started out as an anime pirating website, it’s no wonder SPE wanted to acquire it.
If streaming giants like Netflix are starting to wade into the anime pond, SPE’s proposition of creating a unified anime experience for its users sounds like a good one if they want to stay ahead.