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Crunchyroll General Manager Kun Gao Steps Down

Crunchyroll Logo - StandardAnime News Network reports that Crunchyroll General Manager Kun Down stepped down from his position in September 2018. Joanne Waage, who previously served as CEO of streaming service Viki, has taken over the role.

According to Anime News Network, Gao will continue to serve as a board member of Japanese branch Crunchyroll K.K., and work as an adviser to Crunchyroll as a whole. He will remain attached to several ongoing projects, though specifics have yet to be named.

According to the report, Waage commented that Crunchyroll has “big plans to create more 360-degree experiences for fans via content, games, merchandise, events, and more.”

Crunchyroll has been in operation since 2007. The service managed to raise $4.05 million in its first funding round, in 2008. Shortly after this, the company started picking up the streaming rights for shows.

The company was acquired by the Chernin Group, who purchased a majority share in the company in 2013. In October 2015, Crunchyroll partnered with Sumitomo to produce original anime content.

In 2016, Crunchyroll entered a landmark distribution deal with Funimation, which saw the two platforms sharing their libraries.

In 2017, Sumitomo and The Chernin Group entered a strategic partnership to “expand their holdings in the media and entertainment industry, while gaining a foothold in the global entertainment business landscape.”

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.

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.

Crunchyroll currently serves an audience of more than 45 million users, with more than two million paying subscribers.

Source: Anime News Network

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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