comScore FUNimation Acquires Crunchyroll | The Mary Sue

Did We Just See the Most Epic Anime Handshake With This FUNimation and Crunchyroll Acquisition?

Two anime industry titans are coming together!

Image of Curtis and Armstrong shaking hands in Fullmetal Alchemist

As an anime fan from the before times (back when the idea of streaming services was but a mere fantasy) seeing the rise of the industry has been … indescribable. I truly did think that anime would always be “those weird cartoons” that only I and maybe two other kids watched. Let me just say that I’ve never been one of those fans that bemoaned it getting more popular. I’ve always wanted more people to talk about anime with. I’ve always wanted easier access to anime because, for the love of Godoka, I was tired of spending $40 on 3 episode VHS tapes and waiting YEARS for series to make it to the U.S.

So the fact that we can watch anime as it airs in Japan is incredible.

Two streaming services that we have to thank for that are FUNimation and Crunchyroll. There are more services out there, of course, but these are two of the big ones. If you’re into anime you know who these two companies are and you may very well be subscribed to one (or both) of them. There’s a lot of crossover with series on both platforms and some exclusives, similar to the video game console wars that I’ve grown up with.

And just like the good ol’ days of Genesis Does What Nintendon’t you think that there’s no way in hell that these two companies would ever work together. I don’t necessarily think there’s been a heated head to head battle between FUNimation and Crunchyroll (I could be wrong, I dunno, I’m just here to watch anime y’all), but it just never occurred to me that two of the anime industry’s biggest platforms could come together beyond “you can watch this particular series on both.”

Then? Yesterday happened.

Um… holy shit!

The official press release is right over here, but here’s the gist of it:

Culver City, CA and Dallas, TX, December 9, 2020 — Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and AT&T Inc.* (NYSE:T) today announced that AT&T agreed to sell its Crunchyroll anime business to Funimation Global Group, LLC. Funimation is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.’s subsidiary, Aniplex Inc.

Crunchyroll is a premier anime direct-to-consumer service within AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment with more than 3 million SVOD subscribers and growing.  It serves 90 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories offeringAVOD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise and distribution. The combination of Crunchyroll and Funimation provides the opportunity to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers.

“The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job of not only growing the Crunchyroll brand but also building a passionate community of anime fans. Crunchyroll’s success is a direct result of the company’s culture and commitment to their fans,” said Tony Goncalves, Chief Revenue Officer, WarnerMedia. “By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring more anime to more people. I’m incredibly proud of the Crunchyroll team and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short period of time. They’ve created an end-to-end global ecosystem for this incredible art form.”

“We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family,” said Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world. Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere.  Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years and we look forward to continuing to leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment.”

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.

From FUNimation:

“The union of Funimation and Crunchyroll is a win for anime fans around the world that will elevate the art and culture of this medium for decades to come,” said Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation Global Group. “Combining these two great companies will be a win for fans, and enable us to compete at a truly global scale. I am honored to welcome the wonderful Crunchyroll team to a shared mission—to help everyone belong to the extraordinary world of anime.”

From Crunchyroll:

“We are excited to embark on this new journey. Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3M subscribers, 50M social followers and 90M registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. “Combining the strength of the Crunchyroll brand and the expertise of our global team with Funimation is an exciting prospect and a win for the incredible art form of anime.”

So what does all of this mean? Are we getting a singular streaming service?? More anime dubs??? Even more access to anime???? A combination of logos?????

Is anime gonna implode in on itself, plunging us into a silent void as we try to piece together our very existence, reflecting on our lives up until this very moment, reaching that long-awaited epiphany, the bliss of a true awakening, the comfort of finally embracing our true selves?

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Well … I’m not sure yet. No one is, really, as neither company has given details on what this acquisition means. We’re told that details will come soon, though.

Fan response has been a mix of this:

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And this:

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Which has led to some cases of this:

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I myself am curious to see where this goes. I’d adore a giant, ongoing, anime database where I can stream current hits or past favorites that I can tweet about just to get that one person who says OMG I REMEMBER THAT SERIES!

Regardless, this is definitely news I never saw coming. What are your thoughts on this acquisition? And which company is Curtis and which one is Armstrong in this scenario?

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(Image: FUNimation)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)