Crunchyroll, the popular service streaming anime, will have a new owner shortly. And not just any: Sony will pay AT&T about $ 955 million for a purchase that is taken for granted, they assure in Nikkei Asia.
A simple way to describe Crunchyroll would be to say that it is the Netflix anime. In other words, a video-on-demand (VOD) platform that by paying a subscription, allows access to the largest online anime catalog in the world, including original and exclusive content.
Unlike services such as Netflix, HBO or similar, however, Crunchyroll offers some of its content for free, in addition to, of course, that its size is not comparable due to the determined niche. Crunchyroll currently has an estimated 70 million free subscribers and 3 million paid subscribers.
Crunchyroll was acquired in 2018 by the American giant AT&T, owner among others of WarnerMedia and its subsidiaries such as WarnerBros or HBO, so they will continue to have a strong presence in all types of audiovisual productions, both for cinemas -when the cinemas are operational again- and for streaming.
So why get rid of an asset like Crunchyroll, unique in its category and with anime more established than ever in popular culture? Business, presumably. But that the general interest in anime is growing, no one doubts that: there is Netflix, one of the independent platforms that is most committed to this medium to demonstrate it.
But there are also the global business figures, which point to an increase in the value of anime of 1.5 times what it was five years ago, reaching in 2018 about profits of $ 21 billion worldwide. A recent example of this success came from Crunchyroll with the launch of Demon slayer, becoming the highest grossing anime film in Japan by grossing 10 billion yen in ten days.
A tenth of that is what Sony is going to pay for Crunchyroll, although the news and data have yet to be confirmed. But it does not seem like a bad business for the Japanese to create community around a medium that attracts more and more people and whose relationship with games is important.
And it cannot be ruled out that the Crunchyroll catalog and that of Sony Pictures end up germinating a new service of streaming. At the time.