Anime & Manga News

Funimation Global Group Acquires Crunchyroll

by ImperfectBlue
Dec 9, 2020 6:31 PM | 78 Comments

AT&T Inc. (AT&T) and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (Sony Pictures Television) announced on Wednesday an agreement to sell AT&T's Crunchyroll to Sony Pictures Entertainment's Funimation Global Group, LLC (Funimation). The declared US$1.175 billion sale price will be subject to adjustments and regulatory approvals.

Variety reported in August that WarnerMedia—an AT&T subsidiary—was looking to sell Crunchyroll for an estimated US$1 billion, which belonged to Warner Media's Otter Media division at the time. The entertainment news outlet speculated that Sony Pictures Entertainment was a potential buyer.

Funimation and Crunchyroll formed a distribution partnership in September 2016 to increase their respective catalogues by sharing licensed properties. The partnership ended in October 2018, shortly after AT&T acquired controlling interest in Otter Media from Chernin Group.

Crunchyroll is a California-based video streaming service founded in 2006 that has since expanded to include licensing, manga, mobile games, merchandise, and original animation production. Its streaming platform serves over 90 million registered users and 3 million paid subscriptions in over 200 countries. The company currently offers over 1,000 anime titles and 30,000 episodes, a figure it claims gives it the largest selection of anime in the world. Crunchyroll expanded its global reach when it acquired a majority stake in the VIZ Media Europe Group in September 2019.

Funimation is a Texas-based entertainment company founded by Gen Fukunaga in 1994 that specializes in the licensing, distribution, and dubbing of East Asian media—primarily anime. On its official website, the company claims it has "tens of millions" of users worldwide.

Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% stake in Funimation for US$143 million in July 2017. The group of investors that previously owned Funimation included Fukunaga, who retained a 5% ownership and remains the company's president.

Funimation acquired UK distributor Manga Entertainment in May 2019. In September of the same year, Sony Pictures Television merged with Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. subsidiary Aniplex, joining Funimation with Aniplex's France-based Wakanim and Australia-based Madman Anime Group. Prior to the consolidation, Funimation's catalogue was purported to consist of over 600 titles representing over 10,000 hours of content.

Source: Press Release

20 of 78 Comments Recent Comments

Reina_Orikasa said:
Ringo_Elegant said:

True that. Normie gonna normie.
I can understand not caring about the legal stuff and all that, but Funimation is known for making "problematic material" so "localized" that it's unrecognizable. I'm thinking this could be the death knell of ecchi in America. And hell, even if you just care about shounen, this could damage those shows too. Funimation has turned the simple task of watching Dragon Ball (their flagship dub, though perhaps HeroAca is starting to pick up steam) on home media media into urethra-inflaming agony.

Which is a fair point, but I have to ask how many of their subscribers care about the quality of such localizations? And how many of potential new subscribers who don't know any better about the quality of localizations and just want to watch a subbed/dubbed show? I can already see people who are indifferent to it and the source material. Time to see if they hike prices without increasing the quality of localizations eh?

Yeah, that's the thing, a lot of people don't even realize that there are different dubbing companies. Though it does seem like Funimation's behavior is getting more spotlight. The other day I saw a "fuck funimation" line in a Beat Saber song list lmao.

Dec 12, 2020 9:51 AM by Ringo_Elegant

HUGE WIN FOR SONY...but alas, those outside the U.S. will have a tremendous suffering of this, not to mention Japan's strict policy on pirating issues kicking off from next year.

Licensing and censoring issues will be a huge boon when the partnership really starts to thicken its blood waters.

Dec 12, 2020 12:39 AM by KANLen09

Raratah said:
Azorrkk said:
virgin incel energy


Shill detected. Anyone with a brain who likes anime knows this is a bad thing.
Obviously no agenda should be forced into anime, but the statement itself gives off virgin incel energy

Dec 11, 2020 7:26 PM by Azorrkk

Azorrkk said:
Hamazura said:
left anime is coming sjw agenda is coming
virgin incel energy


Shill detected. Anyone with a brain who likes anime knows this is a bad thing.

Dec 11, 2020 5:56 PM by Raratah

VRV was the only proper way to use Crunchyroll on mobile. Offline viewing is probably the best thing to happen with paid services. Combine catalogs and make the VRV app better as that one is by far the best.

Although this makes my Hulu subscription potentially useless as that was how I watched the Funi new shows.

Dec 11, 2020 9:39 AM by Graciaus

Wonder what this meanS for the future of both platforms. Obviously it isn’t a viable option to continue to operate both, right? Hopefully we can still keep VRV tho

Dec 11, 2020 9:29 AM by PotatoWedge

Only_Brad said:
Soyny owns nearly 90% of the western anime now. The era of 4Kidz 2.0 begins now.

Soyny pretty much hate anime because it's not an alphabet soup lala land propaganda but is providing entertainment for their actual demographics, a concept that is foreign for the "diversity&equality" crowd.


Lol, "Soyny". I'm using that.

Dec 11, 2020 9:00 AM by RadarDuker

This absolutely horrible news. The only thing I care about when it comes to CR or Funi is releasing blu-ray remasters of old shows, since only licensors can fund that. But did you guys hear about how the US Inuyasha bluray this year is totally screwed up? Less competition is the LAST thing this industry needs.

Dec 11, 2020 8:48 AM by RadarDuker

ANN Forum user Rob19ny said it well here with
And just like that, it finally happened. What this holds for the future of anime outside of JP... only time will tell.

On another note, I read through the comments and only 1 user connected Sony with censorship (unless more were removed before I got here). That is a huge improvement from the previous article about Sony purchasing CR where users (respectfully) ignorantly blamed Sony (Pictures) for censoring anime without doing research beforehand when in fact it was the PlayStation division of Sony doing that (to games). Sony has different divisions and each operates differently. Well done users of ANN.


Source: animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3156226&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60

Dec 11, 2020 8:06 AM by Kadmos1

Reina_Orikasa said:
Ringo_Elegant said:

I can understand not caring about the legal stuff and all that, but Funimation is known for making "problematic material" so "localized" that it's unrecognizable. I'm thinking this could be the death knell of ecchi in America. And hell, even if you just care about shounen, this could damage those shows too. Funimation has turned the simple task of watching Dragon Ball (their flagship dub, though perhaps HeroAca is starting to pick up steam) on home media media into urethra-inflaming agony.

Which is a fair point, but I have to ask how many of their subscribers care about the quality of such localizations? And how many of potential new subscribers who don't know any better about the quality of localizations and just want to watch a subbed/dubbed show? I can already see people who are indifferent to it and the source material. Time to see if they hike prices without increasing the quality of localizations eh?


I guess what I am trying to understand is how the dub, not the sub, would make you pirate anime. It would have to be the subtitles being inaccurate to make that make sense... unless it is like Wolf's Rain where they don't even let you watch it subbed. (which is not an ecchi)

Funimation also puts ecchi up uncensoered when the bluray comes out vs. Crunchyroll usually only has the TV version, so I was always waiting. I donno. I think what kills ecchi anime ultimately is that these sites always get the TV version and everyone is so into seasonals, that ecchi anime doesn't usually get the time it needs to come out on bluray before people start judging it. It also really doesn't help that these uncensored versions air in Japan on premium channels so we know the other version exists... all too tempting to just pirate them. which then makes them less money, less clicks, less value cause the audience isn't playing for them with legal clicks or buying the bluray.... as sales are down.

Also, these are often comedy anime and comedy is ALWAYS localized... but people liked when things were localized before but these days people are like... really bitchy about even one joke difference. Full on canceling (yeah I said it) over stuff that is way way more accurate and far less changed than what they did to both Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakusho, which people love. I am actually convinced that people like dubs that change more, not less. Because changing nothing usually results in less funny jokes/ stale stilted scripts that just don't work in English.

As long as the subs are correct, I don't see an issue. And often, subs these days are actually too literal, and when they aren't overly literal, people complain that the subs aren't accurate. It is almost as if English and Japanese are different languages. People want anime to be free and high quality translations and and and.... Gosh they are seriously considering translating manga with machines instead of people lately in the industry... which I think will be a huge loss... and a lot of manga illegally put online are translated with machines...

Dec 11, 2020 12:43 AM by Energetic-Nova

Ringo_Elegant said:
Reina_Orikasa said:

Piracy would go down if they handled the transition correctly. Offer a greater library of shows people want to watch and offer it at a reasonable price = $$$. There are people that don't give two fucks about controversy and just want a service that has the stuff they want to watch.

I can understand not caring about the legal stuff and all that, but Funimation is known for making "problematic material" so "localized" that it's unrecognizable. I'm thinking this could be the death knell of ecchi in America. And hell, even if you just care about shounen, this could damage those shows too. Funimation has turned the simple task of watching Dragon Ball (their flagship dub, though perhaps HeroAca is starting to pick up steam) on home media media into urethra-inflaming agony.

Which is a fair point, but I have to ask how many of their subscribers care about the quality of such localizations? And how many of potential new subscribers who don't know any better about the quality of localizations and just want to watch a subbed/dubbed show? I can already see people who are indifferent to it and the source material. Time to see if they hike prices without increasing the quality of localizations eh?

Dec 10, 2020 11:46 PM by Reina_Orikasa

How close does this take Sony to a monopoly on anime?

Dec 10, 2020 10:36 PM by akihikosama

This is interesting while the current streaming libraries of both services are massive the fight for streaming rights of new shows will still continue. I foresee Netflix and Funi battling it out for streaming rights. I think Sony is going to double down and is willing to pay a premium to be the one-stop-shop for anime. Once they get a shows rights they then lease it to other streaming services for a large fee. I believe this is their initial business plan to generate revenue while they develop and merge the two companies together. I don't see much business reason to keep these companies separated long term.

It would be nerve racking to work for crunchy and funi right now. Who knows what'll happen internally. Companies never have the best interest of employees in mind... it's all about that $$$.

Dec 10, 2020 9:28 PM by Dement

Reina_Orikasa said:
Ringo_Elegant said:

Got me wondering if pirating is gonna make a major comeback. CR had tons of issues and a bit of controversy but Funimation seems to do things every day that makes people hate them.

Piracy would go down if they handled the transition correctly. Offer a greater library of shows people want to watch and offer it at a reasonable price = $$$. There are people that don't give two fucks about controversy and just want a service that has the stuff they want to watch.

I can understand not caring about the legal stuff and all that, but Funimation is known for making "problematic material" so "localized" that it's unrecognizable. I'm thinking this could be the death knell of ecchi in America. And hell, even if you just care about shounen, this could damage those shows too. Funimation has turned the simple task of watching Dragon Ball (their flagship dub, though perhaps HeroAca is starting to pick up steam) on home media media into urethra-inflaming agony.

Dec 10, 2020 7:35 PM by Ringo_Elegant

Soyny owns nearly 90% of the western anime now. The era of 4Kidz 2.0 begins now.

Soyny pretty much hate anime because it's not an alphabet soup lala land propaganda but is providing entertainment for their actual demographics, a concept that is foreign for the "diversity&equality" crowd.

Dec 10, 2020 4:55 PM by Only_Brad

Ringo_Elegant said:
nyugvo6 said:
where low effort translations and agendas meet, our story begins!
KingShuloxx said:
So monopolism, no competence and hitting employees is going to be more usual... hm. I just hope this doesn´t mean they will extorsionate the studios because they are the only one in the market. This can be great or incredibly wrong. AT&T will make us find out
Hamazura said:
left anime is coming sjw agenda is coming

Got me wondering if pirating is gonna make a major comeback. CR had tons of issues and a bit of controversy but Funimation seems to do things every day that makes people hate them.


Well here in Latin America (I´m from Argentina), we have no Funimation and Crunchyroll is... strange. Servers are always down, videos tend to have a bad quality and availability is a problem. Also game translation and global launches are a problem, and they have been giving us horrible animes lately (except Tonikaku Kawaii, that is really nice). I always try to support original creators, but here it´s really hard to do so. And now...

Dec 10, 2020 3:54 PM by KingShuloxx

Yeah, that settles it, Funimation is the Disney of Anime.

Dec 10, 2020 3:12 PM by eze_tielve

Reina_Orikasa said:
Ringo_Elegant said:

Got me wondering if pirating is gonna make a major comeback. CR had tons of issues and a bit of controversy but Funimation seems to do things every day that makes people hate them.

Piracy would go down if they handled the transition correctly. Offer a greater library of shows people want to watch and offer it at a reasonable price = $$$. There are people that don't give two fucks about controversy and just want a service that has the stuff they want to watch.


I doubt so. You forget the license issues in the countries. That was one of the biggest issues for Funimation compared with CR. They bought the latter to try to enter several countries, but CR had a small catalog in several parts because of the license rights, which are very expensive in some countries. I expect to hear complaints about "blocked in your region" more often now.

Dec 10, 2020 3:00 PM by Pipe

Ringo_Elegant said:

Got me wondering if pirating is gonna make a major comeback. CR had tons of issues and a bit of controversy but Funimation seems to do things every day that makes people hate them.

Piracy would go down if they handled the transition correctly. Offer a greater library of shows people want to watch and offer it at a reasonable price = $$$. There are people that don't give two fucks about controversy and just want a service that has the stuff they want to watch.

Dec 10, 2020 2:13 PM by Reina_Orikasa

nyugvo6 said:
where low effort translations and agendas meet, our story begins!
KingShuloxx said:
So monopolism, no competence and hitting employees is going to be more usual... hm. I just hope this doesn´t mean they will extorsionate the studios because they are the only one in the market. This can be great or incredibly wrong. AT&T will make us find out
Hamazura said:
left anime is coming sjw agenda is coming

Got me wondering if pirating is gonna make a major comeback. CR had tons of issues and a bit of controversy but Funimation seems to do things every day that makes people hate them.

Dec 10, 2020 2:04 PM by Ringo_Elegant