Crunchyroll has been a go-to destination for anime in the U.S. for years now, and it seems the platform is only expanding these days. A new report from Deadline proved as much when it outed the company's most recent milestone. The site, which is now overseen by WarnerMedia, has a whopping 3 million paid subscribers.
For those needing a bit of context, the growth of Crunchyroll is only on the up and up. The site was launched way back in 2006 as more of a fan-site before operators were able to license hit shows such as Naruto. By 2016, it amassed one million subscribers before hitting 2 million in late 2018. Now, in the middle of 2020, Crunchyroll has gained another million paid subscribers. This is in addition to the 70 million registered users on the site that spans 200 countries.
According to GM Joanne Waage, Crunchyroll is actively expanding as the anime medium grows more popular globally. Their most recent move to globalize anime was by bringing curated series to HBO Max, the latest streaming platform to go live in the wake of Disney+ and its successful launch.
"We believe we can grow this area by exposing people to it," Waage said. "Dramatic animation is in its infancy … We are Fox 30 years ago with The Simpsons. This is a category that will only grow."
Continuing, Waage went on to stress that animation in all forms has been at the heart of WarnerMedia since day one. Their push with Crunchyroll aligns with that interest, and it is what helped HBO Max acquire streaming rights to Studio Ghibli's library in the U.S. for the very first time.
"What it shows is that HBO Max gets this," the GM said about anime. We don't see it as always being niche. People want a community around it and they want to engage."
Such a comment could not be more spot on. The anime fandom is a very social one that gathers online and in-person at conventions. Many of the latter gatherings were canceled this year in light of the pandemic, but Crunchyroll has found a way to hold its annual convention virtually this September. And with anime staffs back in production in Japan, Crunchyroll promises to bring even more shows and seasons to fans as 2020 winds to a close.