Anime streaming service Crunchyroll has been bought by Sony’s Anime brand Funimation for $1.175bn from Otter Media, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. The deal came a week after Crunchyroll announced it had passed 5m paying subscribers and 120m registered users, up from 4m subscribers and 100m registered users in February 2021, driven by the increasing global popularity of Anime. According to Ampere Consumer data, the proportion of viewers who enjoy watching Anime increased from 24% in Q1 2018 to 36% in Q1 2021.
Launched in 2009, Crunchyroll saw its subscriber base grow modestly at first but in recent years it has boomed, averaging almost 100% year-on-year growth in subscribers in the past five years.
Sony is not alone in its Anime push, with Netflix ramping up its original content efforts in this space (see our previous post on the topic) and suggesting that half of its more than 200m subscribers have recently viewed Anime. And with Crunchyroll on track to hit almost 8m subscribers by the end of 2022, the Anime market still has room for growth. Sony’s acquisition of Crunchyroll will provide an expansive user and subscriber base for its continued Anime push, with a plan to merge Crunchyroll and Funimation together into one platform in the future.