Anime is as big as ever and Crunchyroll has the numbers to prove it. The popular anime streaming service recently surpassed 100 million lifetime app downloads, according to app download tracker data.ai. The mobile application reached the milestone last week across iOS and Google Play downloads and its success is due in large part to its international appeal; the U.S. downloads accounted for less than a quarter (21%) of its worldwide downloads.
According to the report, the company reached an average of 20.9 million monthly users this year with it also surpassing 5 million subscribers and 120 million registered users. Its monthly increase in users has also assisted in its success. January 2021 was the best month for app downloads, reaching a high of 3.6 million downloads, versus 977,000 in the same month the previous year.
After Sony closed its purchase of Crunchyroll at $1.17 billion in August 2021, the company began offering combining programming from Funimation and Wakanim, which allowed it to become a bigger hub for Anime content.
In addition to the additional content, perhaps the biggest contributor to Crunchyroll’s growth might be its decision to phase out the ad-supported tier for new releases. Earlier this year, it announced that for new and continuing simulcasts, viewers would need a premium monthly or annual subscription to view the content. Users are still granted free access to its existing Crunchyroll library, but new episodes are not available as a free ad-supported viewing option.
“An ad-supported tier is an excellent way to expand the user base, but if growth is not an issue it may be unnecessary,” according to media firm Interpret. “Shortly after Crunchyroll debuted in 2006, the market found itself facing a bursting ‘anime bubble.’ Now, the anime audience is growing. While 2021 did not see the pandemic-influenced explosion in growth that 2020 saw, global anime viewership continues to grow and will naturally drive more subscribers to Crunchyroll. As viewership continues to rise, Crunchyroll’s profile will rise with it, mitigating the risk of it getting relegated to niche status.”
Crunchyroll is a subscription video streaming service catering to fans of anime with over 30,000 episodes. Viewers can see new episodes of shows one hour after they air in Japan, and read hundreds of chapters across dozens of manga titles. Some of their more popular titles are Dragon Ball Super, Attack on Titan, and Fire Force.
Crunchyroll offers three plans. The “Fan” ($7.99) plan allows streaming on 1 device, but no offline viewing. Their “Mega Fan” ($9.99) plan allows viewing on 4 devices along with offline viewing. And the “Ultimate Fan” ($14.99) plan offers viewing on 6 devices, offline viewing, and an annual swag bag, among other perks.