Crunchyroll has come a long way.
Originating as a site to stream user-uploaded anime content, Crunchyroll went legit in 2009, partnering with anime companies directly and quickly becoming the largest anime streaming site. Now Crunchyroll has announced they’re partnering with trading company Sumitomo to produce anime themselves.
There are a number of reasons Crunchyroll might be getting into the production game. By co-funding anime directly, Crunchyroll can acquire foreign distribution rights directly without negotiations or expensive licensing fees.
On top of that, they may be able to steer the creative direction of anime they co-produce, ensuring the content appeals to its western audience.
In 2013 a majority stake in Crunchyroll was bought by The Chernin Group for close to $100 million. Crunchyroll currently has 10 million registered users, though only a fraction of those are paid subscribers.
Crunchyroll won’t be the first North American anime distributor to co-produce animation with Japan, though they will be the first in the streaming era. In the 90s, Manga Entertainment partnered with Bandai to fund the original Ghost in the Shell film, and ADV Films co-produced anime like Sin: The Movie and Burn-Up W.
What kind of anime do you see Crunchyroll co-producing?