The Sony company has entered the final negotiations to acquire the US anime streaming service Crunchyroll, according to the Nikkei portal, a deal that could catapult the Japanese icon, Sony, into direct competition with companies such as Netflix.
Sony could end up spending more than 100 billion yen (about $ 957 million) on the United States streaming service, also acquiring its more than 70 million subscribers from around the world. It is worth mentioning that Sony has its own popular anime like Kimetsu no Yaiba, but it has licensed it for streaming services. Sony’s Aniplex division, which was behind the production of Kimetsu no Yaiba, has a variety of content, including movies and music, which is distributed mainly through foreign companies.
If the acquisition is made, global competition for content between companies like Netflix and Hulu will intensify. It is worth remembering that Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 and is based in San Fracisco. In 2018, AT&T, the telecommunications giant in the United States, became its parent company.
However, Sony recently obtained the exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of Crunchyroll. After acquiring Funimation, an anime distributor, in 2017, Sony gained one million paying subscribers, mostly in the United States, however, it ran into difficulties expanding this customer base.
The Crunchyroll platform has more than 70 million free members and more than 3 million paid subscribers distributed in more than 200 countries and regions, including the United States and Europe. Additionally, Crunchyroll would also give Sony over 1,000 titles that it can use to vary its offerings.
Sony’s total gaming, music and movie operating income is projected to reach $ 4.79 billion for the fiscal year ending March, representing 60% of the group total. The company once known for Trinitron televisions and Walkman personal stereos has grown into an entertainment colossus that plans to strengthen this side of its business through Crunchyroll’s membership base.
With the COVID-19 pandemic convincing people around the world to entertain themselves at home, the demand for video distribution services is increasing and competition for popular content is intensifying. Netflix, the dominant platform in that market, is already forming alliances with animation studios, while Disney took over its popular library and established its own streaming platform last year.
According to the Japan Animation Association, the global anime market in 2018 was valued at $ 21 billion, 1.5 times more than five years ago. Furthermore, the international market accounted for almost half of the total demand.