Funimation’s Crunchyroll acquisition means that big anime is here


At the beginning of this month, Funimation eventually acquired Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion, merged the animation giants of Sony and AT&T, and laid the foundation for the turmoil in the industry. The era of “big animation” has officially arrived.

Integration is the hottest trend Speaking of streaming services. The strong in the content world are competing, just as the huge solar system bends time and space in their direction. WarnerMedia is merging with Discovery; Disney acquired 21st Century Fox; Viacom merged with CBS. Sometimes, the impact of these transactions is enough to attract scrutiny by regulators.Department of Justice Prosecute AT&T’s plan to acquire Time Warner in 2017 claimed that the resulting giant enterprises would harm consumers, but Company wins. Funimation’s acquisition of Crunchyroll is also It is said that the target Antitrust review after the agreement is reached Announce Last December.

After eight months, FuniRoll will exist-although details about what it will look like are still scarce. Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra did give a hint: “Our goal is to create a unified animation subscription experience as soon as possible,” he said in a press release on August 9. Animation industry experts interviewed by WIRED said that Funimation-Crunchyroll, no matter how it performs, represents a major change in the scale and structure of the animation industry, and is also a key footnote in the larger narrative of today’s streaming wars.

“The influence and business of animation is changing from a niche to the mainstream,” said Tada Sudo, an analyst and reporter in the animation industry, through an interpreter. With the emergence of Funimation-Crunchyroll, he added, “The balance of power in the North American animation industry will change dramatically.”

For decades, Western animation distribution has been the field of media companies focusing on this type of media. Funimation was founded in 1994 and launched the streaming service FunimationNow in 2016. Crunchyroll started as a streaming site in 2006 and was acquired by AT&T in 2014; a few years later, Sony acquired a majority stake in Funimation. Although there are other streaming companies such as HIDIVE, Crunchyroll and Funimation have long been major players in Japanese studios licensing TV series to Western audiences. They can provide a tailor-made experience for the otaku. This is an ecosystem composed of forums, merchandise and even animation news, and most importantly, the series will be released simultaneously with the Japanese cable TV network.

However, recently, with the growth of international animation demand, mainstream giants such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have also joined the licensing battle, swallowing such Bee star, Carregui, with Made in the AbyssAccording to data from Parrot Analytics, animation has quickly become the third most popular TV sub-genre in the world. In fact, the company estimates that otaku thirst can support 33% more animation works—and it has released more than 190 anime each year. During 2001, when Dragon Ball First broadcast on the Toonami block of Cartoon Network, in 2019, the number of newly produced anime series Japan increases every year More than 50%. It’s no longer just Japanese making anime; Netflix invested millions Entering this industry, the ultimate goal is to let talents from all over the world make this genre international.

Crunchyroll and Funimation had to compete with each other and with streaming giants such as Netflix, not only for the free time and subscription fees of anime fans, but also for the copyright of the most popular games. Shawne Kleckner, chief executive of RightStuf, an animation video and merchandise company, said that over the years, due to the eagerness to enter the animation field, license fees have been rising. “They bid to try to get the best deal. And many times they bid too high. So when you integrate, they don’t need to do that anymore,” Kleckner said.according to Anime News Network, North America’s “Three A” animation simulcast may cost the licensee US$250,000 per episode.


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