Sony Acquires Crunchyroll From AT&T
Sony who currently owns Funimation will now own its main competitor Crunchyroll. This news is everywhere but why is nobody talking about this obvious point?
Crunchyroll is currently owned by AT&T whereby Sony will purchase it for about $1.2 billion!
AT&T has been trying to sell Crunchyroll for a while to reduce its current debt, apparently, AT&T felt anime streaming was too niche for its broader audience.
All I see on this topic are:
Japan Times states:
The deal will give Sony access to Crunchyroll’s 3 million paying subscribers across more than 200 countries and regions, helping Sony compete more globally with entertainment giants such as Netflix. For Sony, the purchase of Crunchyroll is part of an aggressive acquisition drive led by chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida to cement its position as a supplier of global content for films, music and games. Its deal activity has expanded into animation and content for children with Sony’s music unit buying a $185m stake in Peanuts, the company behind the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown, in 2018. In 2019, Sony combined three anime streaming services under its roof—France’s Wakanim, Australia’s Madman Anime Group, and the U.S.’ Funimation—into a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment’s subsidiary, Aniplex. Crunchyroll will also be folded into this streaming giant, which could mean a complete merger or just an exchange of content.
So what’s the problem? Well, within a previous article, ‘Top 5 Best Legal Anime Sites To Watch Worldwide‘ I wrote my unbiased recommended legal anime streaming sites available worldwide dependent on your location. The top 5 winners were:
- Anime Lab
So who owns most of these sites…SONY! That’s right, except for Hulu who is owned by Disney, with this new acquisition Sony now owns 4 out of the 5 best anime streaming sites.
As stated by the previous news sites, Sony now has access to 3 million more subscribers and has been leading an AGGRESSIVE acquisition strategy for films, music, and games! They did this in order to compete with Netflix. Really??
Netflix has 157 anime shows currently airing according to Reel Good. Whereas a combination of Crunchyroll and Funimation makes that 1800 anime shows. That now makes Netflix a TENTH in size to Sony regarding anime power.
My honest opinion on this is that Sony shouldn’t be allowed to purchase Crunchyroll as it makes Sony too BIG of a competitor for the anime streaming market.
It feels like its daje-vu to say this as I remember it happening when Facebook acquired Whatsapp. It seems when digital products on the internet are being bought and sold that that gets put under the radar for the international competition laws.
Is anything digital too complicated for the non-millennials (aka old-timers) in the legal systems?
I suspect that AT&T will try to ship off its remaining anime streaming services such as HBO Max and Adult Swim as Crunchyroll is apart of HBO Max and Adult Swim being another niche.
Who then do we have left to compete with Sony?
Will Sony’s next venture be to purchase Hulu?
Will they target and rightly so the elephant in the room with illegal anime streaming sites?
Let’s wait and see, but from an observer watching the big wigs trying to achieve anime domination, I think that this acquisition is not fair and places uncertainty within the anime community on competition (i.e. monthly payments).
What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments.
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