Yesterday many outlets and one of the first to break this news was Variety.com. Sony and AT&T have reached a deal to sell Crunchyroll to Sony/Funimation. We have speculated about this for a while now and have written an earlier article about why this has come about. Now, though, what does this mean for millions of Crunchyroll fans that have an excellent service with zero issues?
Funimation currently is a very flawed product and service. It has the most unreliable tech, platform, and service of the two companies. Many Funimation subscribers complain about the constant tech issues, whether on the website, mobile app, or other streaming platforms like Hulu. Secondly, Funimation has not done the one thing that matters to fans: to cultivate a community for them.
Since Big Business took over Funimation, in Sony’s buying of the company, Summer of 2017, they have completely removed themselves from out of community relations. They did the one thing that mattered most to them raise prices and push initiatives to gain more subscribers. Sony also did not think of investing in Funimation’s infrastructure by updating its technology. Updating the infrastructure is impertinent when increasing subscribers and communicating with the fanbase. Funimation has only made appearances at conventions to sell products and left the fanbase in the cold.
In the last year, Funimation has turned over relief and started to try. We will give them a tip of our cap for this, at least. Funimation still has not made appearances at other cons but did come up with their virtual convention this year. Anime Pad had a few members attend the con. Overall, Funimation did a good job for something they have never attempted. We saw this year Funimation reaching out to influencers in the cosplay and anime community to host watch parties and more community reach. Most of these still being a tech issue latent system. They are at least trying now, whereas Crunchyroll has always done these things and mastered them.
Finally, the two companies released a preliminary statement on the sale that speaks volumes.
“The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job of not only growing the Crunchyroll brand but also building a passionate community of anime fans. Crunchyroll’s success is a direct result of the company’s culture and commitment to their fans,” said Tony Goncalves, Chief Revenue Officer, WarnerMedia. “By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring more anime to more people. I’m incredibly proud of the Crunchyroll team and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short period of time. They’ve created an end-to-end global ecosystem for this incredible art form.”Sony Pictures
“We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family,” said Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world. Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere. Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years and we look forward to continuing to leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment.”Sony Pictures
As Mega Fans of Crunchyroll here at Anime Pad, we hope for the best monopoly of anime streaming in the world. Hopefully, Sony/Funimation take the best of both services and mash them together. That way, everyone wins, and that is all that matters. Until then, we will be keeping our eye on them as fans of anime and media journalists.