02 Nov 2020
Sony may buy out anime streamer Crunchyroll for nearly $1bn
It seems like Crunchyroll, the premium anime streaming website based out of the United States, may get a confirmed buyer soon.
Entertainment conglomerate Sony, which has a net worth of $45bn, is currently in "final negotiations" to buy out the company that was established in 2006.
The reported amount for purchasing the content bank is $957mn, which crosses 100 billion yen.
Crunchyroll's acquisition will give Sony 70mn registered users
This would make anime one of the most important assets of Sony.
Incidentally, the company, which makes lion's share of its profit from games, is witnessing a spike in subscriber base of PlayStation Plus to the tune of a million users.
Crunchyroll's acquisition will give it access to 1,000 titles and their 30,000 episodes besides getting 3mn paid subscribers and 70mn registered users.
Why is anime a big deal for the entertainment conglomerate?
Sony is banking big on anime.
In 2019, it had three of its subsidiary anime streaming businesses, namely Wakanim, France, Madman Anime Group, Australia and Funimation, US, to merge under Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television.
Sony creates original anime content and its anime film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - Mugen Train has earned over $100mn within just 10 days of release.
In 2018, global market for anime was worth about $21bn
Notably, Crunchyroll has its services across 200 countries including the US; its monthly subscription cost $8.
Some of its titles are already available with HBO Max.
The Association of Japanese Animations cites that global market for anime was worth about $21bn in 2018.
Incidentally, Sony in April invested $400mn into Chinese animation producer Bilibili, expanding the scope of global animation entertainment under its supervision.
AT&T is the parent company of the anime streamer
Sources say Sony has the exclusive rights to negotiate for buying Crunchyroll from AT&T.
Founded in 2006, the US telecommunications giant is its parent company since 2018.
The company, which also owns Time Warner Inc., was trying to sell off Crunchyroll for $1.5bn to ease its debt, which was around $150bn last year.
COVID-19 forced an additional debt of $3.27bn on it in May.