Two years ago, Sony’s purchase of Funimation drove a wedge behind the anime production house and Crunchyroll, which is primarily a subscription streaming video service. Crunchyroll ended up becoming a part of AT&T via the Time Warner acquisition and supplied some content for HBO Max, but now AT&T has agreed to sell it off to Sony/Funimation for $1.175 billion.
Crunchyroll noted it has 3 million subscribers and over 90 million registered users across more than 200 countries. In a statement regarding the sale (which includes VRV), the companies said “The combination of Crunchyroll and Funimation provides the opportunity to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers.” According to Bloomberg, one advantage of the deal for Sony is that it will be easier to promote music from its artists that frequently make theme songs for the cartoons.
Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra said “Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world. Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere.” The deal is still pending, subject to regulatory approvals.