Only two months after Funimation absorbed local anime streaming service Animelab, Sony has announced that its main anime competitor — Crunchyroll — will also be merged into Funimation.
Sony announced early Tuesday morning Australian time that its Funimation Anime Group had completed the acquisition of the Crunchyroll streaming service and all of its IP, which it acquired from American telco AT&T for $US1.15 billion. The deal means that all the dedicated anime streaming services in Australia will now effectively be rolled into a single product, with the exception of what anime is available through Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose, from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV — everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime. Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible,” Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a release.
The official Crunchyroll announcement was relatively short, with little detail on what the transition would mean for existing Crunchyroll users, particularly those who have an existing Animelab/international Funimation subscription.
The two brands you know and love will be working together, and we believe this is a great thing for fans and the industry, alike! Both teams are knowledgeable, passionate, and have been committed to the anime community for decades. We couldn’t ask for better partners.
We know you may have questions! Today we begin the work of bringing two awesome teams together to bring you more of what you love. Thank you for your trust and support!
Kotaku Australia understands that the transition of Crunchyroll into Funimation will affect around at least a million Australian users. The acquisition of Animelab into Funimation is still ongoing, with the Animelab app, website and player still functioning (albeit with large warnings noting the transition).
It’s not the first time Crunchyroll and Funimation have partnered, despite being direct competitors. Back in 2016, the companies announced a distribution partnership. The partnership meant Crunchyroll users could get access to shows like Cowboy Bebop, while Funimation users were able to access titles like 91 Days and Orange.