Anime & Manga News

Crunchyroll and Sumitomo Corporation Establish Anime Investment Joint Venture

by arsonal
Oct 22, 2015 5:40 AM | 63 Comments
Streaming video distributor Crunchyroll and Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corporation announced on Thursday that the two companies are establishing a joint venture which will invest in the production of anime for the international market.

That joint venture, whose entity name and size of investment have not been revealed, will take part in the production committees of anime titles which will then be distributed by Crunchyroll.

Sumitomo Corporation is one of Japan's largest general trading companies (sougou shousha). Its media division distributes content for cable television, terrestrial broadcasters, and cinemas. In recent years, it has increased investments in the business of creative content.

In February, Sumitomo partnered with Japanese media company Imagica Robot Holdings and the public-private Cool Japan Fund to acquire SDI Media, a U.S.-based provider of subtitling, translation, and language dubbing services.

According to the press release, Crunchyroll boasts 700,000 paying subscribers and more than 10 million monthly viewers. Anime! Anime Biz reports that international distributors such as Daisuki and Crunchyroll, as well as a number of Chinese companies, are increasingly taking part in production committees.

With the rising cost of licensing content for overseas distribution, content providers can ensure that they win distribution rights by investing in production instead of competing and paying high license fees. However, Anime! Anime! Biz also notes that Crunchyroll's aim is not merely rights acquisition.

Crunchyroll co-founder and CEO Kun Gao cites the increasing importance of overseas markets in the anime industry. In establishing the joint venture, the company aims to connect fans to the production of anime from the time of its inception. With the joint venture, Crunchyroll, which is traditionally strong in North America and Europe, can also expand its distribution network with Sumitomo, which is traditionally strong in Asia.

Source: Anime! Anime! Biz

20 of 63 Comments Recent Comments

wrenchbread said:
I have nothing but respect and well wishes for them. Just look at the sorts of critically acclaimed shows we got from Amazon, Hulu, and [especially] Netflix. This could be the start of some amazing content for people other than the usual otaku audience.

I agree. it cant get any worse then the generic drivel that is 80 percent of anime these days.We all complain about getting the same rehashed crap...well now it might change!

Oct 29, 2015 6:28 AM by g-rabe

I have nothing but respect and well wishes for them. Just look at the sorts of critically acclaimed shows we got from Amazon, Hulu, and [especially] Netflix. This could be the start of some amazing content for people other than the usual otaku audience.

Oct 24, 2015 6:40 AM by wrenchbread

Max said:
Western companies being able to produce (and therefore influence) the production and content of anime? There's no way this is going to end well.
And here I thought that the problem with CR was that they were some kind of parasitic legal-bootlegger middleman that damaged the industry by paying license fees. But now that they're becoming more directly involved with producing and funding anime, it's not going to end well? It's almost as if "bad" is equivalent to "whatever Western anime distributors happen to be doing at the moment."

Jerkhov said:
I just want Bandai to get under a new licensor so its shows can be on CR again
Many of Bandai's licenses for Sunrise shows have been picked up by either Sentai or Funimation, so there's a fair chance that at least the Sentai titles might surface on CR again.

Oct 24, 2015 1:01 AM by Zalis

Wow, a company that doesn't even license anime GLOBALLY now tries to do some big shit.
They can only wish to last five years. Worse, Sumitomo can drain away Crunchyroll's assets at the smallest sign of being unable to earn enough.

Oct 23, 2015 7:01 PM by Orix

i don't mind involvement of crunchy or legal anime streaming sites because it's necessary for survival of anime industry but if there will be involvement of any other western companies or investors then anime will surely loose it's charm which will surely happen in future if further western involvement will happen...AMEN!!!

Oct 23, 2015 12:58 PM by ultravigo

I'm hoping for better subs now.

Oct 23, 2015 7:23 AM by raviel_ken

Comic_Sans said:
09122013 said:
True. But I see nothing bad in working wich them. Sure thing some streaming services are hated for whatever reason but what does it have to do with possible quality of the product they will create?
When shit interfers with shit it becomes dog shit


or something like this happens:

minus x minus = plus

Oct 23, 2015 1:58 AM by Shinigami1992

09122013 said:
True. But I see nothing bad in working wich them. Sure thing some streaming services are hated for whatever reason but what does it have to do with possible quality of the product they will create?
When shit interfers with shit it becomes dog shit

Oct 23, 2015 12:01 AM by Comic_Sans

Let's see what crunchyroll can pull off.

Oct 22, 2015 10:39 PM by hoopla123

Unless they decide to go full villain on us, this is going to be a good thing.

Oct 22, 2015 10:13 PM by karsten69

This sounds very good, hopefully they can reverse the pandering trends that have been going on in Japan by putting some American money into the industry.

Oct 22, 2015 7:03 PM by KaoruMatsuoka

Undim said:
Does Daisuki have anything exclusively?


One Punch Man and I believe they exclusively had Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls. (But that's been up on MAL now.)

Oct 22, 2015 7:03 PM by marx-chan

Does Daisuki have anything exclusively?

Oct 22, 2015 6:44 PM by Undim

Max said:
Jerkhov said:
I just want Bandai to get under a new licensor so its shows can be on CR again

lol at all the immediate anti-western anime fans

Not going to happen so long as Bandai is a part of Daisuki.

None of Bandai's backlog of lost titles are on there though, Nichijou, Code Geass (although Funi claims rights to it, nothing has been released for years now), too many Gundam series to count, and Lucky Star are all absent from streaming sites or DVD productions.

Many of these were previously streamed on Crunchyroll but have now since expired since Bandai's US shutdown.

Besides Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is already on Crunchyroll, just a week later than on Daisuki. They clearly don't maintain sole rights to these series.

Oct 22, 2015 6:40 PM by Jerkhov

I'll just wait and see what they will produce before completely judging it.

Oct 22, 2015 6:40 PM by Burger-Meister

povsuduvolosy said:
The question here is WHY crunchyroll wants to make animation (so sudden)? I mean, it's cool and everything but WHY? What for?..

They're a growing company in a growing industry. All the major players in streaming entertainment are putting money into in-house production, and there's already been a lot of critical and commercial success from these ventures. Welcome to the future.

Oct 22, 2015 6:25 PM by Undim

The question here is WHY crunchyroll wants to make animation (so sudden)? I mean, it's cool and everything but WHY? What for?..

Oct 22, 2015 6:11 PM by povsuduvolosy

Comic_Sans said:
≠ Working with Crunshitroll

True. But I see nothing bad in working wich them. Sure thing some streaming services are hated for whatever reason but what does it have to do with possible quality of the product they will create?

Oct 22, 2015 5:29 PM by 09122013

Kinda freaky. Crunchyroll is so persistent in getting into anime industry... like a bunch of russian spies.

Oct 22, 2015 5:07 PM by povsuduvolosy

There's a hint of worry.

But To be Honest, Maybe they can push edgier content titles that interest more international fans. Instead of relying on Japanese anime producers to continue catering on the niche Japanese fans who are sucking the shit out of the industry with their love moe-blob 2-d waifu cliche animes.

Oct 22, 2015 4:02 PM by Cirris