Crunchyroll and Funimation Merger Explained and What Happens Now

Sony has completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll from AT&T, after first announcing a merger in December 2020.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has finalized its purchase of Crunchyroll through Funimation Global Group, LLC., their joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.'s subsidiary Aniplex, according to a company press release.

It will allow Sony to have the two anime streaming services under one roof, and the merger will see Crunchyroll and Funimation broaden its distribution opportunities.

Sony bought the Video-On-Demand platform from AT&T for $1.175 billion, and the former revealed in a press release issued on Monday that the proceeds would be used for the latter's debt reduction efforts.

What Does the Merger Mean for Crunchyroll and Funimation?

This is not the first time former rivals Crunchyroll and Funimation have worked together, as the two streaming platforms previously had a partnership in 2016.

The partnership allowed select Funimation titles to be available to stream on Crunchyroll and vice versa, while Funimation was also the distributor for the other's home video catalog.

Funimation and Crunchyroll's partnership ended in 2018 when Sony acquired the former and AT&T purchased the latter's owner Otter Media.

Sony shared in its press release that it planned to combine both Crunchyroll and Funimation to make one anime streaming platform, though it is unclear when this will take place and both will remain separate in the meantime.

The new merger allows Sony to "create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible," Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc, revealed in the press release.

Vinciquerra added: "We are committed to creating the ultimate anime experience for fans and presenting a unique opportunity for our key partners, publishers, and the immensely talented creators to continue to deliver their masterful content to audiences around the world.

"With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose, from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV—everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime."

My Hero Academia
"My Hero Academia" promotional poster. "My Hero Academia" is an anime series available on Crunchyroll and Funimation, and the show's fifth season is currently being simulcast on both streaming platforms. Crunchyroll

How Will the Merger Between Funimation and Crunchyroll Work?

Crunchyroll has 5 million subscribers and 120 million registered users of its service, and it gives them access to 1,200 titles in 200+ countries and territories.

Funimation, meanwhile, has 800 titles available in its growing catalog, with its anime series available in 49 countries across 15 platforms. The company has not disclosed how many subscribers it has.

Both Crunchyroll and Funimation simulcast episodes of the latest anime content, giving fans access to subtitled episodes shortly after they air in Japan.

Funimation also have a "Simuldub" option available to subscribers, which allows them to watch dubbed (English language) episodes of the latest anime within two weeks of their release in Japan.

By combining the two services, Sony will be able to control a large majority of the anime market, with Netflix being their next best contender.

What Have the Two Companies Said About the Merger?

Following the announcement, Crunchyroll said in its own statement: "The two brands you know and love will be working together, and we believe this is a great thing for fans and the industry, alike!

"Both teams are knowledgeable, passionate, and have been committed to the anime community for decades. We couldn't ask for better partners."

Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, also spoke about the merger in Sony's press release, and added: "We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group.

"Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthrals and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe.

"The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community.

"We look forward to delivering even more outstanding entertainment that fills the world with emotion through anime."