Crunchyroll

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll.svg
Type of businessSubsidiary
Available in
FoundedMay 15, 2006; 16 years ago (2006-05-15)
Predecessor(s)Funimation Global Group
Headquarters,
Country of originUnited States
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Kun Gao[1][2]
James Lin[1][2]
Brandon Ooi[1]
Vu Nguyen[3][4]
Key peopleRahul Purini (CEO)
Asa Suehira (CCO)
Industry
Products
Services
  • Film production
  • Film distribution
  • Television production
  • Television distribution
ParentOtter Media (2014–2021)
Sony Pictures (2021–present)
Aniplex (Sony Music Entertainment Japan; 2021–present)
DivisionsCrunchyroll Manga (UK) Ltd.
Madman Anime
Crunchyroll EMEA
Crunchyroll Films
Crunchyroll Studios[5][6]
Crunchyroll Games, LLC
Wakanim
VRV
URLwww.crunchyroll.com
RegistrationOptional
UsersIncrease 120 million (2021)
(5 million paying)[7]
Current statusActive

Crunchyroll, LLC is an American distributor, publisher, production and licensing company focused on streaming anime, manga, and dorama. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley, graduates,[8] Crunchyroll's distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to over 100 million registered users worldwide.[9] Crunchyroll was a subsidiary of AT&T's Otter Media, and from 2016 to 2018, the company partnered with Funimation, which would eventually merge into its brand in 2022 after Sony acquired Crunchyroll in 2021. The company is currently owned by Sony through a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Aniplex.

Crunchyroll has offices in San Francisco, Culver City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Coppell, Burbank, New York City, Melbourne, Montreal, Tokyo, Paris, Roubaix, Berlin, Chișinău, Lausanne, and London,[10] and is a member of The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA).[11] "Crunchyroll-Hime", also known as "Hime", is the official mascot of Crunchyroll.[12]

Crunchyroll offers over 1,000 anime shows,[11] more than 200 East Asian dramas to users, and around 80 manga titles as Crunchyroll Manga, although not all programming is available worldwide due to licensing restrictions. Crunchyroll passed one million paid subscribers in February 2017,[11][13] and has over 5 million paid subscribers as of 2021.[7] Crunchyroll also releases titles on home video either directly[14] or by having select anime titles released through its distribution partners (Aniplex of America, Sentai Filmworks, Viz Media, & Discotek Media in North America and Anime Limited in the United Kingdom).[15][16]

History

Origins and illegal distribution

The original Crunchyroll logo used from 2006 to 2012.

Crunchyroll started in 2006 as a for-profit video upload and streaming site that specialized in hosting East Asian content. Some of the content hosted on Crunchyroll included fansubbed versions of East Asian shows.[1][17]

In 2008, Crunchyroll secured a capital investment of $4.05 million from the venture capital firm Venrock.[18] The investment drew criticism from anime distributors and licensors Bandai Entertainment and Funimation as the site continued to allow users to upload illegal copies of licensed titles.[19]

Move to legal distribution

However, Crunchyroll eventually began securing legal distribution agreements with companies, including Gonzo, for a growing list of titles. On January 8, 2009, after announcing a deal with TV Tokyo to host episodes of Naruto Shippuden, Crunchyroll stated that it was committed to removing all copyright-infringing material from its site and to hosting only content to which it had legitimate distribution rights.[20]

In 2010, Crunchyroll announced its acquisition of the North American DVD rights to 5 Centimeters Per Second. This was the first DVD release licensed by Crunchyroll.[21]

On October 30, 2013, Crunchyroll began digitally distributing 12 different manga titles from Kodansha – series such as Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail were part of the manga that were available initially – through Crunchyroll Manga.[22]

Chernin Group ownership

On December 2, 2013, The Chernin Group, former News Corp. president Peter Chernin's holding company, announced that it acquired a controlling interest in Crunchyroll. A person with knowledge of the transaction said the price for the acquisition was close to $100 million. The Chernin Group said that Crunchyroll management and existing investor TV Tokyo would maintain a "significant" stake in the company.[23][24][25]

On April 22, 2014, AT&T and The Chernin Group announced the formation of a joint venture to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services. Both companies committed over $500 million in funding to the venture.[26] The new company was named Otter Media and became the majority owner of Crunchyroll.[27] On August 3, 2015, Variety reported that Otter Media would unveil Ellation, a new umbrella company for its subscription-based video services including Crunchyroll.[28] Ellation's services included VRV, which debuted in 2016, a video streaming platform described as targeting "geeks, gamers and lovers of comedy, fantasy and technology."[29]

On October 22, 2015, Anime News Network reported that Crunchyroll had achieved 700,000 paying subscribers. In addition, the company announced that Crunchyroll and Sumitomo Corporation had created a joint venture to produce and invest in anime productions.[30][31][32][33]

On April 11, 2016, Crunchyroll and Kadokawa Corporation announced the formation of a strategic alliance that gave Crunchyroll exclusive worldwide digital distribution rights (excluding Asia) for Kadokawa anime titles in the upcoming year. It also granted Crunchyroll the right to co-finance Kadokawa anime titles to be produced in the future.[34]

Funimation partnership, and home video expansion

On July 1, 2016, Crunchyroll announced plans to dub and release a number of series on home video.[35]

On September 8, 2016, Crunchyroll announced a partnership with Funimation. Crunchyroll would stream select Funimation titles, while Funimation would stream select Crunchyroll titles, as well as their upcoming dubbed content. In addition, Funimation would act as the distributor for Crunchyroll's home video catalog.[36]

On February 9, 2017, Crunchyroll announced that it had reached one million paid subscribers.[11][13]

On March 22, 2017, Kun Gao took over as representative director of its Japanese branch, succeeding Vincent Shortino.[37]

On March 30, 2017, Crunchyroll began to distribute anime through Steam.[38][39]

On November 4, 2017, a group of hackers managed to DNS hijack the official site for almost six hours. Users were redirected to a fake lookalike site which prompted users to download ransomware under the guise of "CrunchyViewer". Crunchyroll filed a first information report against the hackers.[40]

AT&T/WarnerMedia ownership and internal productions

In January 2018, Otter Media bought the remaining shares (20%) of Crunchyroll from TV Tokyo and other investors.[41] In August 2018, AT&T acquired the remainder of Otter Media that it did not already own from Chernin Group; the company and Crunchyroll were thus folded under WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner, of which AT&T had also recently completed an acquisition).[42]

In August 2018, the service announced an expansion into original content with the anime-inspired series High Guardian Spice produced by Ellation Studios.[43]

On October 18, 2018, Funimation announced that their partnership with Crunchyroll ended as a result of Sony Pictures Television's acquisition of Funimation and AT&T's acquisition of Crunchyroll's parent company Otter Media.[44]

On March 4, 2019, it was announced that Otter Media would be placed under Warner Bros. as part of a reorganization. As a result of said reorganization, the company and Crunchyroll became corporate sisters to the American cable channel Cartoon Network and its nighttime programming block Adult Swim, which have been known for their television broadcasting of most of its anime under their Toonami brand.[45] Due to a subsequent reorganization, Crunchyroll was moved under WarnerMedia Entertainment (owner of networks such as TBS and TNT) in May 2019, so that its COO could oversee an upcoming entertainment streaming service from the brand.[46]

On July 3, 2019, Crunchyroll announced that they had partnered with Viz Media to distribute select Crunchyroll licensed titles on home video and electronic sell-through in the United States and Canada.[47]

On July 20, 2019, independent Australian production company Glitch Productions announced that they had partnered with Crunchyroll to produce their YouTube original series, Meta Runner.[48]

On September 6, 2019, Crunchyroll announced that they became the majority investor in Viz Media Europe.[49] Crunchyroll solidified this deal on December 4, 2019, becoming the majority owners of Viz Media Europe Group, and appointed former Viz Media Europe president John Easum as Head of Crunchyroll EMEA.[50]

On October 15, 2019, it was announced that Naver Corporation's webtoon publishing portal, WEBTOON, was partnering with Crunchyroll to produce animated adaptations of its series.[51] On February 25, 2020, Crunchyroll announced a slate of several programs under their new "Crunchyroll Originals" brand, including anime adaptations of the webtoons Tower of God, The God of High School, and Noblesse.

On April 2, 2020, Crunchyroll announced it had rebranded Viz Media Europe as Crunchyroll EMEA, with former Viz Media Europe brands Kazé, Anime on Demand, Anime Digital Network and Eye See Movies becoming Crunchyroll brands, and AV Visionen and Ellation becoming Crunchyroll companies.[52][53] As a result of the rebranding, the Ellation name transitioned from Otter Media's Consumer Division to Crunchyroll's Moldovan offices,[54] and VRV became a brand of Crunchyroll.[55] Ellation was later renamed to Crunchyroll Moldova on April 17, 2020.[56]

On September 5, 2020, Crunchyroll announced that they had entered in a partnership with Sentai Filmworks to distribute Crunchyroll licensed titles onto home video and electronic sell-through, with Granbelm, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma: The Fourth Plate, Ascendance of a Bookworm, and World Trigger being the first titles distributed through the partnership.[57]

Acquisition by Sony

On August 12, 2020, The Information reported that Sony Pictures Entertainment, Funimation's parent company, was in talks to acquire Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia for US$1.5 billion.[58] According to Variety, the amount was decreased to US$1 billion.[59] Later in October 2020, it was reported that Sony was in its final talks with AT&T to acquire the streaming service for more than ¥100 billion, roughly US$957 million.[60]

On December 9, 2020, Funimation and its owner Sony announced that they had reached a deal with AT&T and WarnerMedia to acquire Crunchyroll for around US$1.175 billion. The acquisition was considered to be a major consolidation of global anime distribution rights outside of East Asia.[61][62] However, on March 24, 2021, it was reported that the United States Department of Justice had extended its antitrust review of the acquisition.[63]

On August 9, 2021, Sony announced that it had completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll. Following the acquisition, Sony stated that they wanted to create a unified anime subscription experience using their existing anime businesses as soon as possible.[64] Crunchyroll confirmed four days later that VRV was included in the acquisition.[65]

On September 23, 2021, Crunchyroll announced that they had entered in a partnership deal with Fuji TV for anime content development and production. The partners plan to start work on the new slate in April 2022 with anime-focused developer and producer Slow Curve.[66][67]

On March 1, 2022, it was announced that the Funimation, Wakanim and VRV SVOD services would be consolidated into Crunchyroll. Additionally, Funimation Global Group, LLC will be renamed and merged into Crunchyroll, LLC, with the Funimation brand being phased out in favor of Crunchyroll.[68][69]

On March 11, 2022, Crunchyroll and Wakanim announced that they would suspend their services in Russia due to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[70]

On March 16, 2022, it was announced that Funimation's home video releases would be distributed under the Crunchyroll banner, with the latter's logo replacing that of the former on the spine and back of the covers for each new release that comes out starting with its June 2022 slate.[14]

On March 24, 2022, Crunchyroll announced that starting with the Spring 2022 season, a subscription would be required to watch new and continued simulcast, with older titles featured on the site prior to this season remaining free to watch. It was also announced that the first three episodes of select titles would be free a week after their premiere until May 31.[71]

On April 5, 2022, the company announced that Funimation's YouTube channel was rebranded as Crunchyroll Dubs and that it would serve as Crunchyroll's channel for English-dubbed content while English-subtitled content would still be uploaded on their Crunchyroll Collection channel.[72] The company also stated that they would release an English-dubbed first episode of an anime series every Saturday at 3:00pm ET on the Crunchyroll Dubs YouTube channel, starting with Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World on April 9, 2022. Three days later, another announcement was made in that the Funimation Shop would be moved to the Crunchyroll Store.[73]

On April 19, 2022, CEO Colin Decker stepped down from his position. He was replaced by COO Rahul Purini.[74]

The Anime Awards

The Crunchyroll Anime Awards, also known as simply as the Anime Awards, are annual awards given to recognize anime from the previous year. The awards were first held in January 2017 and returned for 2018. Crunchyroll selects twenty judges from diverse backgrounds who then create a list of six nominees within each category. This list is then made available to the public for online voting to choose the winners.[75]

Crunchyroll Expo

The Crunchyroll Store at Crunchyroll Expo 2017

In February 2017, Crunchyroll created the Crunchyroll Expo (CRX) anime convention with organizational support from Left Field Media.[76] The inaugural Expo was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center on August 25–27, with team manager Dallas Middaugh noting much of the ticket sales came within ten days of the convention.[77] Special guests for the Expo included The Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman, voice actors Shun Horie and Hiromi Igarashi, illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, figure skater Johnny Weir, manga artist Kore Yamazaki, and author Keiichi Sigsawa.[78][79]

The Expo was moved to the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in 2018 on Labor Day weekend. The convention saw 45,000 in turnstile attendance. Among the guests for the convention were Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, voice actors Ryo Horikawa, Justin Briner, Luci Christian, Clifford Chapin and Colleen Clinkenbeard, and the staff of Darling in the Franxx.[80]

Crunchyroll Expo 2019, also in San Jose, saw the premieres of the movie Blackfox and the Mob Psycho 100 II original video animation, while Toei Animation organized a screening of the movies Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku and Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn.[81][82] Among the guests invited were horror mangaka Junji Ito;[83] 22/7 voice actors Sally Amaki, Kanae Shirosawa, and Ruri Umino;[84] Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma writer Yūto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki;[85] and staff members of Zombie Land Saga, including voice actors Kaede Hondo and Asami Tano, composer Yasuharu Takanashi, and MAPPA CEO Manabu Ohtsuka.[86] Rock band Flow, whose songs have been featured in various anime as opening themes, held a concert on August 30.[87]

In 2020, Crunchyroll held its first virtual expo due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event includes Hime's Cosplay Cup on September 5, 2020. Special guests included Shusuke Katagiri, Myth & Roid, Rian Tachibana, and Matt Schley.[88][89][90]

Crunchyroll Originals

On February 25, 2020, Crunchyroll initially announced several series under its Crunchyroll Originals label.[91] These are anime or other animated series that are either co-produced or directly produced by the company. Crunchyroll previously co-produced anime titles before, but this list will only include those that Crunchyroll themselves officially place under the label.

So far, these series include:

Title First run start date First run end date Episodes Notes Animation Studio
In/Spectre January 11, 2020 March 28, 2020 12 Adaptation of novel series written by Kyo Shirodaira. Brain's Base
Tower of God April 1, 2020 June 24, 2020 13 Adaptation of webtoon by SIU. Telecom Animation Film
The God of High School July 6, 2020 September 28, 2020 13 Adaptation of webtoon by Yongje Park. MAPPA
Gibiate July 15, 2020 September 30, 2020 12 Original work created by Ryō Aoki. Lunch Box
Studio Elle
Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You October 3, 2020 December 19, 2020 12 Adaptation of manga by Kenjiro Hata. Seven Arcs
Noblesse October 7, 2020 December 30, 2020 13 Adaptation of webtoon written by Son Jeho and illustrated by Lee Kwangsu. Production I.G
Onyx Equinox November 21, 2020 December 26, 2020 12 Original work created by Sofia Alexander. Crunchyroll Studios
So I'm A Spider, So What? January 8, 2021 July 3, 2021 24 Adaptation of light novel series written by Okina Baba and illustrated by Tsukasa Kiryu. Millepensee
Dr. Ramune Mysterious Disease Specialist January 10, 2021 March 28, 2021 12 Adaptation of manga series written by Aho Toro. Platinum Vision
Ex-Arm January 11, 2021 March 29, 2021 12 Adaptation of manga written by HiRock and illustrated by Shinya Komi. Visual Flight
Fena: Pirate Princess[92] August 15, 2021 October 24, 2021 12 Original work by Kazuto Nakazawa and Production I.G. Co-production with Adult Swim. Production I.G
High Guardian Spice October 26, 2021[93] October 26, 2021 12[93] Original work created by Raye Rodriguez. Crunchyroll Studios
Blade Runner: Black Lotus[94] November 14, 2021 February 6, 2022 13 Original work based on the Blade Runner franchise. Co-production with Adult Swim. Sola Digital Arts
FreakAngels January 27, 2022[93] January 27, 2022 9 Adaptation of webcomic written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield. Crunchyroll Studios
Shenmue the Animation[95] February 6, 2022 May 1, 2022 13 Adaptation of the Shenmue video game series by Yu Suzuki. Co-production with Adult Swim. Telecom Animation Film
Meiji Gekken: Swords & Guns TBA TBA TBA Original work; working title. Crunchyroll Studios

See also

References

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External links

Media related to Crunchyroll at Wikimedia Commons