Crunchyroll Responds To Concerns About Rising Prices

Today, subscribers to the largest anime streaming service, Crunchyroll, were hit with a 15 per cent price hike monthly — spurring complaints from longtime users.

Paying Crunchyroll subscribers received an email today alerting them to the price change, which will come into effect for new users 1 May 2019, and for existing users, 1 August 2019. Prices will rise from $6.95 to $7.99 a month.

Crunchyroll says it offers 90 per cent of anime worldwide, a statistic that will surely decline as behemoth tech companies such as Amazon and Netflix get in on the anime gold rush.

In 2017, The Verge reported that Netflix would be spending $US8 billion ($11 billion) in the following year on new content, including 30 new anime series. Netflix now has exclusive rights to popular new anime such as Violet Evergarden, Devilman Crybaby, Little Witch Academia and Aggretsuko. And soon it will begin streaming one of the most popular anime ever: Neon Genesis Evangelion.

With that said, Amazon’s premium US service, Anime Strike, folded last year, perhaps in part because it charged an extra $US60 ($84) a year on top of a $US99 ($139)-yearly Prime subscription.

For over a decade, Crunchyroll had never significantly increased its prices. However, fans have complained for years that it’s been slow to offer new features and fix broken ones. On Crunchyroll’s subreddit and /r/anime, fans wonder what inspired the monthly hike.

“Don’t know what justifies this price increase,” said one user. “Their player is the worst I have seen and I need to rely on a 3rd party extension to be able to watch videos without them buffering every few seconds. I know others have this issue as well. I will probably still subscribe as it is a convenient way of supporting the Anime industry and I watch about 6 shows on it each season so I get my money’s worth.”

Said another, “Unless they come out with some amazing new features, I think this is a good time to end my yearly subscription after next year.”

Kotaku asked over email whether Crunchyroll has new features planned to justify the price hike.

“Due to rising costs of content and infrastructure, now is the time to introduce new subscription pricing,” a spokesperson told Kotaku in an email. “This price increase will help us bring our community more of their favourite shows, allowing us to create even more experiences for them to connect with each other and through shared passion for anime.”

A service dedicated to anime and anime lovers should, in theory, be best primed to serve its audience. But as big-money companies such as Netflix and Amazon continue to set the bar higher, it remains to be seen whether Crunchyroll will continue to meet subscribers’ expectations.

This price hike could serve as a final straw for disappointed users or, for others, a way to continue supporting the streaming service in these unsure times. 


Comments

    I've found watching CR to be a different experience depending on where you watch it.

    I haven't had much of a problem using their mobile app and chromecasting it to my TV.

    Their desktop website still doesn't support HTML5 so I need to watch it using a Chrome extension. The Windows 10 app is atrocious, I can barely watch 5 minutes of it without it crashing to the point I need to restart my computer.

    I've had it on my Amazon Fire TV Stick for a while, when it works it's great, but every 2 or so weeks it forgets my log in, but won't let me log out, so I need to uninstall the app, reinstall and log back in before I can watch anything again.

      And I reckon these are the sorts of areas if they'd come out saying "prices are Increasing but that'll allow us to fix a), b) and c)" subscribers probably would be all for it

        I don't doubt it, communication is always the key. When prices go up, we expect services to be at least a little bit better. $20USD extra per year works out to be a fair chunk when we then pay the going rate plus fees.

        Although I'm sure the rising costs of electricity to run servers etc comes into play, and maybe with more companies now (Funimation / Amazon / Netflix / HiDive and others) they're having to pay higher prices for the license to stream anime because it might be a bit of a bidding war.

      I've found over the past couple of weeks there have been weird bugs while casting from iPad to chromecast where the video stalls at seemingly random times. Has anyone else noticed that?

    This price increase will help us bring our community more of their favourite shows, allowing us to create even more experiences for them to connect with each other and through shared passion for anime

    Excuse my colourfull response but get the fuck outta here.
    Nobody, not even you buys that ridiculous PR dibble.

    Having been a member for nearly a decade i definitely have covered the money spent, currently at <$70 a year its still one of the cheapest streaming services around compared to others, so an extra $12 a year isnt really an issue. Mainly a mobile user but i did watch it for a while on laptop, only issues ive had was sometimes firefox doesnt play when they kept updating adobe flash so i would just use chrome for a while, there have been days that i havent been able to use it on my phone for whatever reason but when youre watching them week by week a couple of days isnt an issue.
    My worst and most frequent issue is being called midway through important or climactic moments, when you try and watch 20mins straight in a 24 hour day and everyone fucking wants to talk to you

    So all that faff was marketspeak for "Don't expect any improvements - actually be very shocked if the experience doen't degrade. Some senior level podperson at AT&T demanded more profits from their new purchase."

    I admit I ditched Crunchyroll a few years back due to them not making all their content public for all users (Australian users often missed out on a number of titles) - I have found Animelab a more or less suitable replacement for anime can't see much reason to return.

    “Don’t know what justifies this price increase,”

    people this generation really have no idea the value of anything. The cost of living continues to rise, as does the ongoing costs to do anything at all.

    Wonder how many of those complaining would be happy to not get a pay rise for a year or two. So diff.

    considering the other anime streaming services are way cheaper its a shame they had to increase the pricing, and sayinf it is to offer better stuff in the community what a load of bollocks, hi dive anime lab and funimation still offer excellent services and havent upped the pricing and they have a lot of the same stuff as crunchyroll these days

    Crunchyroll says it offers 90 per cent of anime worldwide Oh, they finally sorted out their shit?

    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"
    "Please pay us more"

    Seems reasonable. Much bigger companies have done a lot worse to the pricing of their streaming content in recent memory (Netflix, Stan, Foxtel etc). If we want Crunchyroll to be the best service of its kind then we have to pay for it-- else we will lose a pure anime streaming business which advocates (as best it can) for rapid releases and global translation. Also if Crunchyroll were to not manage their business well and fail it could mean that the space & model is unsustainable, which is bad news for any alternative you're thinking of.

    Point is... if you don't want those things then take your money elsewhere. Thats fine too, but I don't really see any strong alternative, nor do I see a problem with a business offering a good service raising their prices by a fraction in order to pay for the rising costs and increasing competition they're facing.

    oh no, an extra $1.04? thats gonna break the bank... really need to stop using twitter as a reason to write articles.

      I think you're missing the point that most people inherently don't mind price increases but they expect an ROI such as extended features or better experiences developed. They are getting neither. To the direct question, Kotaku asked they gave a PR answer that doesn't even answer the question. That mindset makes any increase in price harder to swallow.

    I mean, I don't mind paying an extra US dollar a month if it means I'm not seeing the same 5 ads in a row each time I watch an episode of something (which does happen sometimes when I'm using the free service). BUT! I would also like more releases to be available to Australia please. I get really tired of looking something up only to find it's not available outside the US.

    "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, videos are unavailable in your region"

    No problem. This is why there's Horriblesubs. :)

    Last edited 25/03/19 10:02 am

    Meh. I just watch the free version anyway. Once you get used to the ads, they ain't so bad. The only real annoyance is the occasional HQ HD game ad, which stutters atrociously on my connection.

    We Australians are truly blessed with AnimeLab. The catalogue is a bit smaller, but they have most of the great stuff, the player is responsive and the free option is of very decent quality.

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