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What Sony Buying Crunchyroll Could Mean for the Anime Industry

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Sony is in talks to acquire Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia, a $1 billion deal which could have massive consequences on the anime streaming world.
After months of negotiations, Sony is in the final stages of acquiring anime streaming service Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia. Reportedly, Sony will be spending more than $957 million to add Crunchyroll to their repertoire, a huge jump from the $150 million they paid for Funimation in 2017.

Given the sheer size and popularity of Crunchyroll, this deal could have massive repercussions for anime fans all around the world. Plenty of questions surrounding potential streaming wars, mergers and partnerships have been flying, so let's summarize what we know as of now.

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Will Sony Become a Monopoly?

Sony Pictures Television already owns a 95 percent stake in Funimation, in addition to housing Aniplex and international licensing companies such as Wakanim and Madman Anime Group. With the addition of Crunchyroll, this could bring Sony one step closer to having a full-on monopoly over anime streaming.

In these so-called anime streaming wars, the other competitors remaining are Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HIDIVE, each of which possesses varying levels of influence. Netflix is easily the biggest player, recently making exclusive deals with anime studios NAZ, Science SARU, Studio Mir and MAPPA. They've had success with shows such as Devilman Crybaby, Neon Genesis Evangelion and the anime-influenced Castlevania, though they also stream many titles licensed from Funimation and/or Crunchyroll.

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Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video has a few noteworthy titles -- Made in Abyss, Banana Fish and Vinland Saga come to mind--but they've largely moved away from the anime game. Hulu and HIDIVE haven't received many exclusive deals in recent seasons, and Hulu has a longstanding partnership with Funimation, causing the two platforms to share many titles. So it seems Funimation and Crunchyroll are everywhere, and as an anime consumer,…
Jade Hookham
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