Sony and AT&T made an announcement on Wednesday that Sony is in talks with AT&T to buy their anime streaming platform Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion. The popular anime streaming service will soon be a part of Sony’s Funimation. Funimation has earlier acquired licenses of many famous anime shows such as One Piece, Attack on Titan, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
With its deal with AT&T, Sony now dominates over the entire anime scene in the US with the joint force of both Crunchyroll and Funimation. Other companies have been trying to sustain the anime demand in the country like Netflix, which has made a hefty investment in both licensing and producing their own anime shows.
The general manager of Crunchyroll, Joanne Waage said in an official statement that they are anticipating greatly to explore the new possibilities with Sony. She said, ‘We are excited to embark on this new journey.’
She also said, ‘Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3 million subscribers, 50 million social followers, and 90 million registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon. Combining the strength of the Crunchyroll brand and the expertise of our global team with Funimation is an exciting prospect and a win for the incredible art form of anime.’
According to the statement of Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation Global Group, the deal between Sony and Crunchyroll is highly beneficial for the anime-lovers all over the world as it will, ‘elevate the art and culture of this medium for decades to come.’ He said the union between two companies will help them ‘compete at a truly global scale.’ He stated, ‘I am honored to welcome the wonderful Crunchyroll team to a shared mission—to help everyone belong to the extraordinary world of anime.’
There have been speculations about the deal between Sony and AT&T for quite some time. As per reports, Sony has been trying to buy Crunchyroll for quite some time. According to the reports by The Information, initially, AT&T demanded $1.5 billion for Crunchyroll. They reportedly negotiated an almost $1 billion deal this October.
According to the reports of the New York Times, Crunchyroll was under Chernin Group before AT&T bought it for over $1 billion as part of Otter Media in 2018. After the purchase, AT&T became the owner of numerous digital properties. The current CEO of AT&T and the then head of WarnerMedia, John Stankey said that the company will be using the acquisition of Otter Media to ‘harness Otter’s expertise’ and build up its digital assets. With Stankey in charge, AT&T and WarnerMedia have put all their emphasis on establishing a powerful position for their most valuable asset that is the streaming service HBO Max that hosted the most popular show of this year ‘Raised by Wolves’.