Sony has reportedly entered into final negotiations with AT&T to acquire the US-based anime streaming service Crunchyroll in a deal more than 100 billion yen ($957 million).
According to Nikkei Asia, Sony recently obtained exclusive rights to bid for the hugely-popular streaming service. Crunchyroll has 70 million free members and three million paying subscribers signed up globally. As part of the deal, it is reported that Crunchyroll would also give Sony access to more than 1,000 anime titles.
Nikkei said that the Japanese entertainment and electronics conglomerate, Sony plans to compete with Netflix, Hulu and other global streaming rivals.
Recently, Netflix unveiled its plans to produce more anime titles like Thermae Romae Novae, Castlevania and the critically-acclaimed Devilman Crybaby, after noting an exceptional uptake in anime streaming on the platform. According to statistics, over the past year, over 100 million global households watched at least one anime title on Netflix, representing growth of 50 per cent year-over-year.
Back in 2017, Sony had acquired anime distributor Funimation and its one million subscribers. Funimation is one of the leading distributors of anime and other foreign entertainment properties in North America and has licensed some of the most popular series such as Dragon Ball, Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece among others.
Reportedly, there are no other competitors in the conversation to acquire Crunchyroll. There’s a high possibility of Sony having a major acquisition. If it happens then the global competition for content is likely to heat up and intensify, with streaming companies battling to license popular movies and shows.
With Crunchyroll’s purchase, Sony might be seen as a dominating player in the anime space.