At 1:00PM EDT today, Ellation announced that their partnership with Funimation is ending on November 9. After that date, all of Funimation’s content will be removed from VRV and Crunchyroll’s services, and users will no longer have access to Funimation as part of the VRV Premium Subscription or as an individual Channel Subscription.
In a blog post on VRV’s website, the company stated that “Funimation has decided to go their own way, and our partnership with them will be winding down on November 9th.” Forbes’s Lauren Orsini notes that the split was not related to news that HIDIVE would join VRV’s lineup, citing a trusted anonymous source.
Funimation also published a blog post, which explains that “a handful of dubbed shows will come off FunimationNow and several hundred subbed shows will soon be available on FunimationNow,” as part of the split. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation explained that the current wind-down will not affect shows airing in the current anime season, which will run through December.
Funimation anticipates that they will begin making “a selection of newly-acquired titles available in both subbed and dubbed” formats starting in Winter 2019.
Entertainment news source Variety obtained a copy of an internal memo from Gen Fukunaga regarding the news, which states that the agreement “ended amicably.” The memo notes that the decision is based on Funimation’s acquisition by Sony Pictures television, and “additional investments Sony is making in our business to make Funimation a global sub and dub anime brand.” It also explains that, “Effective immediately, Funimation will once again independently acquire, market and distribute anime to the entire community – to both sub and dub fans.“
Fukunaga’s memo adds that, “While our partnership with Crunchyroll is ending, we are excited about the future, the support of Sony Pictures Television and their commitment, alongside ours, to build the best experience for anime fans globally.”
Funimation’s Twitter account stated that the organization would continue to work with Funimation on titles that they co-licensed.
On their forums, Crunchyroll published a notice to users, explaining that the list of titles that will leave Crunchyroll (and vice versa) is still being finalized. The post also states that “currently-airing simulcasts and series that premiered during the partnership will continue to be available on Crunchyroll, including favorites like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia. Additionally, all home video releases will be released as scheduled and all pre-orders will be fulfilled.”
Funimation and VRV first announced their content sharing partnership on September 8, 2016. As part of the agreement, the two organizations would offer a shared library, with each specializing in different forms of content. Crunchyroll would focus on subtitled shows, while Funimation would set their sights on dubbed adaptations and SimulDubs. Moreover, Funimation would distribute Crunchyroll’s titles on home video under the partnership.
In October 2017, we reported that Funimation was officially purchased by Sony Pictures Television. The deal, which was valued at $143 million, saw Sony purchase 95% of Funimation’s shares, giving the company a $150 million valuation overall. The company is now a part of Sony Pictures Television’s direct-to-consumer unit, which is helmed by Eric Berger. The unit also contains Sony’s Crackle, Film1 and Animax services.
On August 7, AT&T announced that they acquired Crunchyroll parent company Otter Media from The Chernin Group. The telecom bought Chernin’s controlling stake in Otter, bringing it under the company’s umbrella. In addition to Crunchyroll, Otter owns Ellation, VRV, Fullscreen, and Rooster Teeth.