It isn’t easy being an international anime fan. Finding ways to watch your favorite shows is tricky enough before factoring in any language issues, but Crunchyroll helped ease that burden for millions. These days, the site is a go-to for anime fans looking to stream anime in real-time with Japan, and Crunchyroll has given plenty of money to the industry to get that reputation.
After all, a new report says the company has paid more than $100 million to the anime industry through royalty payments to date.
The Hollywood Reporter did a recent article detailing the business model behind Crunchyroll and its influence on fans. It was there fans learned the site had paid the staggering amount of money in its last ten years of operation.
Crunchyroll has grown a lot since its days as a user-uploaded site back in 2006. After scoring a licensing deal with TV Tokyo in 2009, the company began breaking down a barrier which hurt anime fans for years: the one between foreign fans and Japanese networks. It took time, but Crunchyroll has become a symbol of anime streaming for fans outside of Japan. And, as the company moves forward, it wants to invest in more original content.
"We have invested directly in more than 40 productions, including many shows that wouldn't have been made," said Kun Gao, Crunchyroll co-founder said.
"We have an amazing relationship now with the creators. The animators want to learn about global audiences and what they want."
Japanese animators are not ready to cater explicitly to foreign audiences, but Crunchyroll has helped those creator see how large their reach has become. The decision to share series with the company has become a no-brainer for many as it multiplies viewership while funneling royalties back to creators in Japan. As time passes, Crunchyroll could very well begin its own brand of anime that is made with international fans in mind, and work is already underway at the company on original content ventures.
Of course, Crunchyroll is not the only streaming site looking to buy into anime. Other platforms like Hulu and Netflix have collected a healthy catalog of anime series and films over the years. Earlier this year, Netflix shared the first of its original anime titles after the company announced it would release thirty such titles in 2018.
What services do you want to see Crunchyroll next? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!