Sony is a few stages away from finalizing its deal to buy US-based anime streaming service Crunchyroll. The company negotiated exclusive rights to bid for the streaming service and its 3 million paying subscribers earlier this year, leading to the USD 1 billion acquisition. The two companies have entered the final steps of negotiations, requiring the conglomerate's spending of over 100 billion yen, approximately USD 957 million.
If the acquisition is successful, Crunchyroll’s 70 million free members and three million paying subscribers from more than 200 countries and regions would be added to Sony's audience count, benefiting the company with consumer growth. Sony would also gain Crunchyroll’s vast library of over 1,000 anime titles. acquiring Crunchyroll would help it bulk up its entertainment offering in a market that is dominated by streamers like Netflix and Hulu.
As the anime industry gains popularity, Crunchyroll's viewership has massively increased. In July, the streamer reached three million paid subscribers worldwide, accumulating more than 70 million registered users. Anime has become aspect of streaming competition, with companies fighting to license popular series and films.
Sony is the owner of US anime distributor Funimation, which licenses several popular shows like Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, and One Piece. This acquisition would further expand the catalog. Crunchyroll is owned by US telecoms giant AT&T, which currently has a debt of more than USD 150 billion.Initially, the company asked for USD 1.5 billion for Crunchyroll, but the Japanese firm thought that price too steep. A bundle is currently offered for anime content on a HBO Max subscription and offers a separate Crunchyroll membership for USD 8 per month.
The service also announced eight new shows in February of varius genres, including adventure-fantasy-historical fiction genres. The shows are produced with noted publishers, including Kodansha, and animation studios, such as MAPPA. Crunchyroll was also leveraged as WarnerMedia was promoting HBO Max. Two weeks prior to its 27th May launch, WarnerMedia announced HBO Max partnered with Crunchyroll to bring 17 titles to the platform at launch.