Sony’s Funimation division has completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll from American telecom giant AT&T.
With the $1.175 billion USD (about $1.48 billion CAD) deal now closed, Sony says it plans to “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”
Sony did not provide a timeline for when this unification will happen. For now, the two services will operate independently.
While Crunchyroll is perhaps best known for featuring a streaming catalogue of a variety of anime shows, the service also offers manga, games and more. Anime can be streamed for free, although there are limitations, including ads. Premium plans start at $7.99/month that remove ads and offer other perks, like access to shows one hour after they premiere in Japan.
Funimation also offers ad-supported shows at no cost with similar perks like ad-free viewing unlocked with Premium plans that start at $5.99/month.
Bringing the services together will, presumably, offer a more expanded viewing catalogue, especially where licensing issues are concerned. For example, the popular volleyball anime series Haikyu!! is not available on Funimation in Canada, but it is streaming on Crunchyroll.
Sony says Crunchyroll has five million paying subscribers and 120 million users overall around the world. It’s unclear exactly how many people are using Funimation via its free and paid tiers.