Here’s a big shoe to drop just before 2020 ends. Sony already owned one of the world’s largest caches of anime streaming. And after buying Crunchyroll for $US1.15 billion, Sony just became a huge fish in an increasingly small pond.
AT&T officially announced the sale of Crunchyroll to Funimation Global Group Thursday morning Australian time, bringing Crunchyroll into the same business unit that owns Madman and Madman’s Australian anime streaming service, AnimeLab.
The official release didn’t mention AnimeLab or Madman, however, but said that Crunchyroll has over 90 million registered users over 200 countries. Crunchyroll has expanded into their own commissioned content lately, and it’ll be interesting to see if those efforts are expanded with the Sony acquisition.
Interestingly, Sony are buying Crunchyroll with straight up cash:
The purchase price for the transaction is $1.175 billion subject to customary working capital and other adjustments, and the proceeds will be paid in cash at closing. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
More power to you, Sony. There’s still no word on what this means for Australia, though. Crunchyroll and AnimeLab are direct competitors here, and they have different product offerings. So there’s a chance they could continue operating that way, or there could be more cross-promotion between the two. The most logical course of action is to just have one service — potentially shutting down Crunchyroll’s access in Australia and making AnimeLab the place to go might be one offering, especially since AnimeLab offers more internationally licensed films that Crunchyroll doesn’t focus on. (Madman, AnimeLab’s owner and operator, was also the company that brought the Oscar-winning Parasite to Australian cinemas.)
Either way, once we know more about how that shakes out, we’ll let you know.