Sony Officially Buys Crunchyroll For $US1.15 Billion

Sony Officially Buys Crunchyroll For $US1.15 Billion
Image: IMDB
Facebook may have decided that you shouldn’t see the news, but we think you deserve to be in the know with Kotaku Australia’s reporting. To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

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.

Comments

  • If anything was to close, it would be AnimeLab. Crunchyroll as a brand has more subscribers and reach internationally.

    The bigger issue is now a monopoly that Sony has in the worldwide anime market. Owning one of the biggest western studios and one of the biggest anime streaming services gives Sony a lot of stroke when it comes to how anime is shown, distributed, translated, and censored worldwide. Given the company has a history of deep censorship and completely refusing to distribute some titles that they deem “inappropriate” to US audiences, it means that worldwide viewership is going to be treated like the US audience.

    This is not a good move for the anime viewing public, much like Madman controlling 90% of anime distribution in Australia. No one company should have that much power, because as the saying goes “absolute power corrupts absolutely”

    • It might not be more profitable in Australia, however, especially since there’s a big differentiation with the range of English dubs that AnimeLab has acquired.

      But it could shake out that way, who knows. I think AnimeLab is a larger part of a pretty stable Madman business unit, so my gut says they’re not going to mess with that too much.

      • Also when Sony bought Madman they specifically closed access to Funimation from Australia and pushed Australians into AnimeLab. Honestly, I can see AnimeLab continuing to be a separate product for a long time.

  • For the love of everything, please make the Android app like AnimeLab. plz and thx.

    The Crunchyroll apps has me on the edge of cancelling my subscription next year.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!