AT&T Agrees to Sell Crunchyroll to Sony for $1.18 Billion

Yes, you read that right Sony now owns anime (well most of it). This is a follow up to my previous article The Roaring Anime Industry: It’s Journey and Where it is Headed Next!. In this article I mentioned that Sony was looking to buy Crunchyroll and it finally happened. Sony already owns Funimation and now they also own Crunchyroll. Get this Crunchyroll owns Viz media, Aniplex, and Madman also. Even though they don’t own a 100% Sony owns around 80% of anime.

Does Sony have an animonopoly?
Everything Sony owns in the anime industry

The Upside

  • You don’t have to pay for 2 different services anymore. Expect to see both Crunchyroll and Funimation content on the same streaming service in the future.
  • More Crunchyroll x Funimation content.
  • Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in the statement. “Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere.”
  • More exclusive content. During the same announcement Sony also revealed that episodes of the series Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Battlefront: Babylonia would have a 30 day exclusivity on Sony’s international streaming services before being available on other platforms.
  • Sony now has control of the the Crunchyroll expo and can hopefully improve it in the future.
Does Sony have an animonopoly?
Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Battlefront: Babylonia

The Downside

  • Sony now kind of has a monopoly on anime content delivery with it’s only competitor being Netflix.
  • We want more competition in an industry so that companies try to out produce each other with better content, improve their streaming services, and compete for more money. Reduced competition over streaming rights and content delivery could lead to potentially shrinking the budgets for future Anime productions leaving the whole industry worse off.
  • There is increased speculation that Sony will increase censorship even though this has not been confirmed by Sony yet.
  • Sony might also increase geographic restrictions making some shows available only in a couple of countries.
  • People are worried that this could potentially lead to the loss of the free tier of Crunchyroll. This has not been confirmed yet.
Does Sony have an animonopoly?

Overall this deal will save people money since they only need to subscribe to one platform now, but on the other hand this might lead to lower quality services. We can only hope that Sony does the anime industry right and keeps the high standards growing into the future.