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Sony Nears Acquisition of U.S. Anime Streaming Service Crunchyroll

Sony is working on a major anime streaming acquisition
(Postmodern Studio)
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Sony is close to acquiring U.S. anime-streaming service Crunchyroll, Nikkei reports.

Details, Details, Details: Sony recently secured exclusive negotiations with the platform, and the deal could be valued at more than 100 billion yen ($957 million).

What is Crunchyroll? After being founded in 2006, the San Francisco-based company has grown to 70 million free members and 3 million paid subscribers. In 2017, AT&T acquired full ownership of Crunchyroll and valued the company at $600 million.

Completing the deal would expand Sony’s foothold in the anime industry. Crunchyroll’s library features more than 1,000 titles Sony could leverage.

  • Back in 2017, Sony acquired anime distributor Funimation. While the deal added 1 million paying subscribers under Sony’s roof, it has since struggled to expand its user base.
  • Sony also has its own anime hits under its Aniplex studio arm, but it licenses and distributes content through other services.

The Streaming Wars just got more intense. Covid-19 has people spending more time at home and in front of their TVs. Meanwhile, the “demand for video distribution services is swelling and competition for popular content is intensifying.”

The Big Picture: The global anime market was worth $21 billion in 2018, nearly 1.5 times greater than five years earlier. Overseas markets account for around half of the demand.  

  • Grand View Research projects the global anime market will grow to $36.26 billion by 2025.

Justin Oh:

I’m not too familiar with the anime industry. Still, it’s interesting to see some very popular brands like Naruto, Dragon Ball, and Attack on Titan trading hands from AT&T ($T) to Sony ($SNE), representing a nice profit on AT&T’s original purchase.

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