Earlier today, Anime-Planet and Crunchyroll announced that they entered a distribution partnership. Though the agreement, Anime-Planet became the first recommendation resource to enter such a partnership with the streaming giant. Anime-Planet CEO and founder Kim Cameron mentioned that the agreement arose out of a mutual interest between the two entities to make legal streaming anime more available to fans. The press release contains the following quote:
Anime-Planet’s goal is to become a go-to place for industry-supported multimedia content, integrated into our powerful, reputable recommendation database. As Crunchyroll is an industry leader in bringing anime to the masses, and as Anime-Planet shares Crunchyroll’s desire to give fans an easy way to find new anime via the recommendation database, it was a perfect fit for partnership[.]
As an effect of the partnership, Anime-Planet users will be able to watch Crunchyroll’s streaming content directly through the site. In addition, users will be able to opt in to have their Anime-Planet watch lists update when viewing titles on the site, and filter search results to those having viewable content available.
Before I go further, I’d like to extend my congratulations, both to the folks at Crunchyroll and Anime-Planet. This is an agreement that couldn’t have happened between better people, and I hope it is fruitful for both parties.
That said, I can’t help but be amused at the greater reaction from the internet.
On Reddit, among other communities, there is a degree of confusion about the partnership. Questions of why Anime-Planet, rather than contemporaries like Hummingbird and MyAnimeList seemed to arise when the topic was first brought up. On the surface, the question seems like a no brainer. Anime-Planet, while fantastic, is an older site with a far lower Alexa rank than MyAnimeList. New fans prefer MyAnimeList over Anime-Planet (or don’t even know the latter exists!). So why would Crunchyroll play ball with them?
Business is funny, that way. What seems like a “no brainer” to some, could be a poison pill once one looks beneath the surface. Factors that we, on the outside, will never see can sweeten or sour any potential deals. Typically, the details of these won’t come about until long after the deal was completed, when all but the most ardent observers stopped paying attention. It could be money, it could be ease of integrating the API. Hell, it could be the fact that the folks from Anime-Planet were generally more personable than easy to work with, thus ensuring a speedier negotiations process.
At this point, we simply don’t know, and making speculation on the issue would be little more than careless hearsay.
What will be particularly interesting is whether we see other recommendation engines get into the mix. I’m more curious as to whether we’ll see an expansion of Crunchyroll’s integration to other services, or even if we’ll see other companies enter into similar agreements. While Crunchyroll is a fantastic service, FUNimation, Viz, and other streaming outlets tend to license content that’s not available through the service. This partnership has created an entire universe of possibilities. It will be well worth watching to see which become reality, and which remain as unfulfilled wishes.