According to reports, Sony got a little more in its purchase of Crunchyroll — Ellation’s VRV.
Now, Crunchyroll has confirmed with Anime News Network that Elation’s VRV bundle streaming service would also be coming along for the ride. VRV is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to a large library of anime titles and cult favorites, including Cartoon Hangover (indie cartoons), HIDIVE (anime and more), MONDO (extreme animation), Rooster Teeth (original online videos), and VRV Select (new content).
With the acquisition, Sony has added Crunchyroll’s 90 million free members and five million paying subscribers across more than 200 countries and regions. This is up from the three million when the deal was originally announced. Sony has also gained Crunchyroll’s vast library of over 1,000 anime titles, including those that aren’t affiliated with Funimation’s English dubs.
“We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation. “Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe. The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community. We look forward to delivering even more outstanding entertainment that fills the world with emotion through anime.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department feared an anime monopoly should this deal go through. According to the DOJ, a potential Funimation/Crunchyroll merger could greatly limit the number of options Japanese studios have when looking to license their shows in the United States.
Crunchyroll isn’t just an anime service, either — they’ve recently expanded into manga publishing and, before the COVID-19 pandemic, started hosting conventions. On top of existing deals with Australian and French anime distribution platforms, the DOJ feared that Sony could very well have its hands all over the entire Japanese animation industry should the deal go through. That seems to not have been the case, and the two anime streaming giants are now one.