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Sony’s Funimation Global Group Completes Acquisition of Crunchyroll from AT&T

Old 08-12-20, 11:29 PM
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Sony’s Funimation Global Group Completes Acquisition of Crunchyroll from AT&T

If you've got $1,500,000,000 you can buy Crunchyroll. WarnerMedia is trying to sell it off.

Sony is a potential buyer. They already own Funimation.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...l-sale-1307157

WarnerMedia is looking to offload anime-focused streaming service Crunchyroll, and Sony is among the interested acquirers, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.

The 14-year-old service passed 3 million subscribers in late July, up from 2 million at the end of 2018. That's about the same amount of retail subscribers that WarnerMedia's 2-month-old HBO Max has attracted.

But despite Crunchyroll's relative success for a niche streamer, WarnerMedia parent company AT&T has been looking to reduce its debt load. As such, the source says that new WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar wants to sell any assets that aren't core to the entertainment company's business.

WarnerMedia's streaming bet has been placed on HBO Max, which launched at the end of May to offer a broad catalog of programming from across the company's networks and studios. Crunchyroll has a brand tile on the app, where it curates a selection of anime programming but has also remained a stand-alone subscription service. In a recent interview with Deadline, general manager Joanne Waage said "the goals is to fuel both" services.

A deal for Crunchyroll would add to Sony's existing Funimation anime business, but the source says that Sony's offer is less than what WarnerMedia was hoping to fetch for the company. The Information, which first reported on the sales talks, said WarnerMedia's asking price for Crunchyroll is $1.5 billion.
Old 08-12-20, 11:38 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

https://www.theinformation.com/artic...ng-crunchyroll (May 5)

AT&T Had Talks About Selling Crunchyroll

AT&T’s WarnerMedia has had discussions about selling Crunchyroll, a streaming service that specializes in Japanese anime, according to people familiar with the matter.

Possible buyers include Sony, which owns a rival anime service called Funimation and which has had discussions with WarnerMedia in recent months. There are no active negotiations at the moment, however, according to people familiar with the situation. It is possible the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed WarnerMedia’s sale efforts.

***

https://variety.com/2020/digital/new...ony-1234733441

WarnerMedia Looking to Sell Crunchyroll Anime-Streaming Service for at Least $1 Billion

WarnerMedia is looking to offload Crunchyroll, its anime subscription-streaming service — with an asking price of at least $1 billion — as parent company AT&T seeks to pay down debt — sources tell Variety. One of the potential buyers is Sony Pictures Entertainment, which operates the competing Funimation service.

WarnerMedia’s move to sell Crunchyroll was previously reported by The Information, which said the media company wanted $1.5 billion for the streamer. But a source familiar with WarnerMedia’s plans said that was much higher than the company is expecting to get for Crunchyroll, which is being pitched to additional buyers besides Sony.

Reps for WarnerMedia, Crunchyroll and Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment.
Old 08-13-20, 12:02 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I get it, they are in debt, but from a streaming standpoint this seems foolish, and from the other side of it I don't know why Sony would pay 1 billion for it unless they are trying to keep it away from another competitor. Just invest that 1 billion in Funimation and license more stuff. They don't need the technology and I don't see why they'd want two anime platforms (and if you combine them I'd think you lose the money from those that sub to both).
Old 08-23-20, 01:45 AM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

You buy the other anime platform so you can control the industry's monthly pricing structure. One of the best and easiest ways of reliably cornering a market. Hollywood is starting to figure out anime's growing popularity and they also view it as a source for cheap, well-developed ideas much like comic books.
Old 08-24-20, 10:14 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Crunchyroll Debuts Four New Membership Tiers and Platform Features
https://thestreamable.com/news/crunc...tform-features

Crunchyroll announced today that they have added four new membership tiers for their service. The Japanese anime-centric streaming service was previously available for free with ads or without ads for $6.95/month. The service was also offered in a VRV bundle with Rooster Teeth, Nick, Shudder, Boomerang and Curiosity Stream for $9.99.

Now, Crunchyroll has the Free, Fan, Mega Fan and Ultimate Fan subscription tiers. The free tier will maintain its old model with ads. This option gives viewers access to new episodes one week after premiere.

The Fan tier is ad-free and gives viewers access to Crunchyroll’s anime library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes alongside immediate access to simulcast series day and date with premiere in Japan. Fans also get access to Crunchyroll’s library of digital manga as well as one stream. It costs $7.99 per month.

The Mega Fan tier is available for $9.99 per month and is also ad-free. This tier gives fans all the benefits from the Fan tier and also allows for offline viewing and four concurrent streams. The Mega Fan tier also gives access to a special benefit for the Crunchyroll store providing $15 off a purchase of $100 every three months.

The Ultimate Fan tier is available for $14.99 per month and includes all the perks of the Mega Fan tier. However, this plan allows for six concurrent streams instead of four, as well as an annual Ultimate Fan member swag bag. Ultimate Fan subscribers also get access to a special benefit for the Crunchyroll Store providing $25 off a purchase of $100 every three months as well as exclusive access to the purchase of Ultimate Fan merchandise.

The new tiers will rollout with new updates to the Crunchyroll Android and iOS applications, which begin today. While they won’t be available for everyone immediately, updates are expected to rollout to all users by September.
Old 10-30-20, 08:45 AM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Bus...ce-Crunchyroll
Sony nears acquisition of US anime streaming service Crunchyroll

Entertainment giant could pay more than $950m as talks wind up with parent AT&T

October 30, 2020 18:01 JST

TOKYO -- Sony has entered into final negotiations to acquire U.S. anime-streaming service Crunchyroll, Nikkei learned on Friday, a deal that could catapult the Japanese icon into a global battle with the likes of Netflix.

Sony could end up spending more than 100 billion yen ($957 million) on the U.S. streamer, gaining its 70 million members around the world.

Sony has its own popular anime like "Demon Slayer" (or "Kimetsu no Yaiba" in Japanese), but has been licensing it to streaming services. Sony's Aniplex, the studio behind "Kimetsu no Yaiba," has a variety of content, including movies and music, that is mainly distributed by overseas companies.

If the acquisition is realized, global competition for content among companies like Netflix and Hulu will intensify.

Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 and has its headquarters in San Francisco. In 2018, AT&T, the U.S. telecommunications giant, became its parent company.

Sony recently obtained the exclusive right to negotiate for Crunchyroll.

After acquiring Funimation, an anime distributor, in 2017, Sony gained 1 million paying subscribers, mainly in the U.S., but came up against obstacles expanding this customer base.

Crunchyroll has 70 million free members and 3 million paying subscribers in more than 200 countries and regions, including the U.S. and Europe.

Crunchyroll would also give Sony more than 1,000 titles that it can use to vary its offerings.

Sony's total operating income from games, music and movies is forecast to reach $4.79 billion for the fiscal year ending March, accounting for 60% of the group total.

The company once known for Trinitron TVs and Walkman personal stereos has grown into an entertainment colossus that plans to strengthen this side of its business by building on Crunchyroll's membership base.

With the coronavirus convincing people around the world to entertain themselves at home, demand for video distribution services is swelling and competition for popular content is intensifying. Netflix, the largest streamer, is forming alliances with animation studios, while Disney last year took its popular library and began its own streaming service.

According to The Association of Japanese Animations, the global anime market in 2018 was worth about $21 billion, 1.5 times that of five years earlier. The overseas market accounts for nearly half of total demand.
Old 10-30-20, 10:21 AM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

This still doesn't make much sense to me unless Crunchyroll has like really long contracts, because I would think Funimation would have similar relationships that would allow them to license content away from Crunchyroll if they really wanted instead of buying Crunchyroll outright. I guess if they want to limit competition in the space.
Old 10-30-20, 01:54 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Sony to own all the anime in NA.

Wonder what direction they're going to go with it? Their own exclusive anime streaming service or integrate it into what they have?
Old 10-30-20, 01:56 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Sony to own all the anime in NA.

Wonder what direction they're going to go with it? Their own exclusive anime streaming service or integrate it into what they have?
They already have their own exclusive anime streaming service? Do they have other streaming services besides Funimation? They closed up Vue. Is there a paid Crackle option?
Old 10-30-20, 05:19 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I don't like this move's effect on the entire anime industry in North America. It grants Sony a de facto monopoly over anime content distribution in America and gives a huge corporation with PC sensibilities the power to shut out anime they dislike for any reason in this market.

This will have ramifications even in Japan. More and more Western money has been flooding into anime producers and with that introduces problems.
Old 10-30-20, 05:20 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

➕Likely to combine CR & Funi Now
➕Likely to lower license fees
➕May improve technicals
➖DEFINITE layoffs/streamlining
➖Many licensors will hate it, look for alternatives for overseas distro
➖Co-op deals w/ Sentai et. al. unlikely to survive
Old 10-30-20, 05:39 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I wonder what'll happen to VRV. I guess that'll probably shut down.

Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Sony to own all the anime in NA.
There's still HIDIVE. And every season Netflix has a couple exclusives.
Old 11-04-20, 04:22 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
I wonder what'll happen to VRV. I guess that'll probably shut down.



There's still HIDIVE. And every season Netflix has a couple exclusives.
Prime and Hulu have some stuff, and there's always the free options like Tubi, Popcornflix, etc that have a few, but still, that's not much compared to what Sony now has.
Old 11-04-20, 04:37 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I don't think Prime licenses much new after the fall of Anime Strike (though they have a lot of Retrocrush stuff) , and Hulu seems to be mostly (not all) Funimation titles.
Old 11-04-20, 05:26 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Is Netflix a possibility? However, they have a large debt so investing heavily into Anime might not be ideal.

I'm a Crunchyroll subscriber so combining with Funimation licenses doesn't seem too bad for me in the short term. The long term effect of this monopoly is what scares me..
Old 11-06-20, 05:11 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I've heard the possibility that HBO MAX goes heavily into anime.
Old 11-06-20, 05:12 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I've heard the possibility that HBO MAX goes heavily into anime.
I mean if true... they just sold Crunchyroll, what in the world are they doing?
Old 11-06-20, 05:24 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I've heard the possibility that HBO MAX goes heavily into anime.
If WarnerMedia wants to do that, why entertain the idea of selling Crunchyroll? HBO Max has the Studio Ghibli titles. That's a great starting point. They have been adding various anime titles that streams on Crunchyroll (Aniplex of America, Crunchyroll Originals, VIZ). Crunchyroll Originals have been all over the place for me especially this upcoming series (EX-ARM).

Old 11-07-20, 10:56 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

HBO Max is struggling to carve out a niche for itself in the streaming space with all the competition. What I'm discussing is going heavy into "exclusives" they would own, co-producing the shows with Japanese companies. Of course, WarnerMedia executives want far more control over the content itself.
Old 12-09-20, 07:23 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

https://www.sonypictures.com/corp/pr...ionglobalgroup
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AT&T to Sell Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation Global Group

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 offering AVOD, 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.
https://www.funimation.com/blog/2020...yroll-fans-win
Funimation to Acquire Crunchyroll: Fans Win!

We have really exciting news, guys: Funimation has signed an agreement to acquire Crunchyroll! Here’s the official press release.

“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.”

OK, so you have questions. We get it. We are not able to share anything at this time, but you can rest assured that both companies will continue to operate independently until regulatory review and approval is complete and the deal closes. So until then, it’s Anime-as-usual!
Old 12-09-20, 10:41 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

I just wonder if it means less anime streaming licenses, will Crunchyroll only stream what Funimation licenses now? Although it could be used so Funimation could license more for animes that wouldn't get dubbed in English, could possibly see more home video licenses of sub-only releases. Now that I think of it this could be a good thing, right now Funimation only acquires animes for Home Video licenses that gets dubbed.

Last edited by chrisc31; 12-09-20 at 11:08 PM.
Old 12-09-20, 11:03 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by chrisc31 View Post
I just wonder if it means less anime streaming licenses, will Crunchyroll only stream what Funimation licenses now?
It'll be interesting to see what happens. If they keep all the shows, I'm sure they'll have to raise the price. CR & Funi together cost $14. I don't know how many people will pay that much for an anime streaming service. I bet most subscribers just pick one or the other.

I wonder what'll happen to VRV. Was that part of the sale? It would be nice if they added Funi. Then you'd have all 3 major anime services bundled together (CR, Funi & HIDIVE).
Old 12-09-20, 11:37 PM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

For Sony I wonder who has a better profit per anime, Funimation or Aniplex Of America.
Old 12-10-20, 11:12 AM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by chrisc31 View Post
I just wonder if it means less anime streaming licenses, will Crunchyroll only stream what Funimation licenses now? Although it could be used so Funimation could license more for animes that wouldn't get dubbed in English, could possibly see more home video licenses of sub-only releases. Now that I think of it this could be a good thing, right now Funimation only acquires animes for Home Video licenses that gets dubbed.
If they wanted to only stream Funimation licenses, they already have a Funimation service (which streams more than just Funimation anyway), so I highly doubt they bought Crunchyroll to drop all the licenses they have.
Old 12-11-20, 09:15 AM
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Re: Crunchyroll For Sale

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
If they wanted to only stream Funimation licenses, they already have a Funimation service (which streams more than just Funimation anyway), so I highly doubt they bought Crunchyroll to drop all the licenses they have.
Thats kinda my point, I wonder if Crunchyroll would start releasing dvd's using its title. I would think streaming would mostly be the same as Funimations streaming, if not exactly the same.

Last edited by chrisc31; 12-12-20 at 06:33 AM.

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