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