The popular anime streaming service Crunchyroll recently entered into a pact to become the majority owner of distributor Viz Media Europe Group.
Viz Media Europe Group is the top anime distributor and manga publisher in Europe, so this is a big step forward in Cruchyroll’s mission to spread subtitled and dubbed anime outside of Japan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at this point in time, but it will bring together Crunchyroll’s global streaming platform with Viz Media Europe’s network of partners, distributors, and licensees. Japanese publishing and media company, the Hitotsubashi Group — which consists of Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions — will retain a minority stake in Viz Media. Closing of the deal is reliant on certain conditions including required antitrust clearances.
“Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture, and we are committed to this growing category,” Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves said in a statement. “This transaction between Crunchyroll and Viz Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor. Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”
Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll became a wholly-owned part of Otter Media — which is now housed within AT&T’s WarnerMedia Entertainment group — after the telecommunications company bought out the Chernin Group’s majority stake in Otter last year. Today, Crunchyroll has over 50 million registered users, including 2 million paying subscribers who have access to more than 1,000 licensed anime titles translated into eight languages. Currently, about 60% of Crunchyroll’s revenue comes from North America. It’s looking to shift that to 50-50 between North America and the rest of the world in the next couple of years, and this will definitely help with that.
Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators, publishers and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., Viz Media Europe handles the comprehensive distribution, licensing and promotion of some of the most popular Japanese manga and animation properties for consumers of all ages. Viz Media manages a diverse product line including graphic novels, home video (DVD/Blu-ray), and consumer products. Current Viz animated properties include Bleach, Captain Tsubasa, Death Note, Doraemon, My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, and Yo-Kai Watch.
Crunchyroll has been a leading anime streaming service for a long time, and they seem primed to expand even further through Viz Media Europe. This is big news for anime and manga fans around the world and could bring even more titles to international shores. We’ll keep watch on this story as it develops and keep you updated on the latest information.