Earlier today, Crunchyroll announced that they are joining forces with Viz Media Europe Group. Through an agreement between the two organizations, Crunchyroll will become the majority investor in Viz Media Europe, with the Hitotsubashi Group retaining a minority stake. Crunchyroll will combine its global digital platform with Viz Media Europe’s network of partners, distributors, and licensees.
The Hitotsubashi group is composed of Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd. The deal’s closure is contingent on the completion of unspecified conditions.
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: Crunchyroll (Email Communication)