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Sony’s Funimation Completes Acquisition of Crunchyroll, AT&T’s Anime Streaming Service for $1.175 Billion

Jason Gurwin

It’s official, AT&T has closed its deal to sell its anime streaming service Crunchyroll to Funimation, a Sony-owned anime streaming service for $1.175 billion. The deal was originally announced in December.

Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, said that they plan to create “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”

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 form the three million when the deal was originally announced. Sony has also gained Crunchyroll’s vast library of over 1,000 anime titles.

“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.”

The service also announced eight new shows in February. They span the adventure-fantasy-historical fiction genres. These shows are produced with noted publishers, including Kodansha, and animation studios, such as MAPPA.

Crunchyroll was also leveraged as WarnerMedia was promoting HBO Max. HBO Max partnered with Crunchyroll to bring 17 titles to the platform at launch.

Throughout the pandemic, viewers have been turning to niche streamers in increasing numbers. Appetites continue to grow for foreign content as well, and that’s Crunchyroll’s primary strength.

Animation of all kinds is having a renaissance across almost every streaming service. Prime Video released “Invincible” to popular acclaim. Netflix’s “Masters of the Universe: Revelation” has been a hot topic on social media. HBO Max is developing animated “Game of Thrones” properties. For Crunchyroll fans, nothing beats the unique Japanese style of anime.

Crunchyroll offers several tiers to cater to its anime fans, ranging from an ad-supported free plan to a $14.99/month subscription that offers merchandise discounts and swag bags.

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