Did Funimation buy Crunchyroll?

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For years, anime enthusiasts have relied on two primary streaming giants to fulfill their craving for animated content.

Funimation and Crunchyroll have both been stalwarts in the anime streaming industry, each with its own loyal following. However, Crunchyroll’s tenure as a subscription service predates that of its competitor by nearly a decade. Despite this, Funimation, buoyed by the popularity of the Dragon Ball franchise, managed to carve out its own niche, eventually launching its streaming service.

Since the inception of Funimation’s service, the two platforms have been engaged in fierce competition. Many anime fans found themselves torn between the two, forced to choose one over the other due to the burdensome subscription costs. However, a significant development has recently altered this dynamic: the long-anticipated merger between Funimation and Crunchyroll.

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While it’s not accurate to say that Funimation outright acquired Crunchyroll, both entities have become intertwined through Sony’s strategic acquisitions. Sony acquired a majority stake in Funimation in 2017 before setting its sights on Crunchyroll in 2021. Following Sony’s acquisition, the process of merging the two anime giants began in earnest in March 2022, with the goal of completing the integration by the summer of 2024.

As part of this merger, the Funimation app is slated to shut down completely on April 2, 2024. While the majority of content will remain accessible through the merged Crunchyroll platform, former Funimation subscribers will lose access to any digital purchases made through the app. This loss has understandably sparked concern among subscribers, especially coupled with the impending shift in subscription costs.

Indeed, Crunchyroll recently announced a significant pricing change, with subscription costs set to nearly double starting in early 2025. While this price hike may be justifiable for avid anime enthusiasts, it poses a considerable barrier for casual viewers. With Crunchyroll now occupying a dominant position in the anime streaming market, alternatives are scarce, leaving subscribers with little choice but to accept the new pricing model.

Ultimately, the merger between Crunchyroll and Funimation, coupled with the subsequent price increase, reflects Sony’s efforts to establish a virtual monopoly in the anime streaming sphere. While this consolidation may streamline content delivery for some viewers, it also underscores the evolving landscape of streaming services and the challenges posed to consumers by increasing subscription costs.