How do you compete against the likes of streaming giants such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+? By doubling down on Japanese animation, of course.
The deal echoes Sony’s acquisition of another anime streamer, Funimation, back in 2017. That purchase netted Sony 1 million paying subscribers, but Crunchyroll is set to boost that customer base significantly.
“Crunchyroll has 70 million free members and 3 million paying subscribers in more than 200 countries and regions, including the U.S. and Europe,” Nikkei noted.
While Sony is no stranger to producing and licensing popular anime (e.g., Fullmetal Alchemist, Rurouni Kenshin) under its Aniplex brand, the Crunchyroll acquisition would give it access to a tremendous library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes.
The deal will also bolster Sony’s plan of making animation a serious part of its entertainment portfolio, which already comprises music, movies, and games.