Anime is on the rise around the world, and the medium has streaming to thank for the boost. Companies like Funimation and Crunchyroll have changed the way anime is consumed abroad, but the pair recently went different ways after teaming up for a much-loved partnership.
Now, the president of Funimation is opening up about the so-called breakup, giving fans a better idea at how the two streaming services plan to expand moving forward.
Recently, Gen Fukunaga sat down with Newsweek for an interview, and it was there the Funimation president said the company tried to renew its partnership with Crunchyroll. However, the latter had terms Funimation couldn’t work around, and the impasse forced the two companies to end their on-going partnership.
"Sony had to make this tough decision," Fukunaga revealed. "If [Crunchyroll was not] going to budge on those terms, then we just have to double down and decide if we're going to go at it alone. And that's what happened.”
According to Newsweek, the terms dividing Funimation and Crunchyroll had to do with international rights. The deal reportedly put restrictions on Funimation’s rights by limiting certain titles to certain regions. Fukunaga felt his site had the tech to expand its anime library more so since Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in Funimation last year. After a series of meetings, it was Sony who advised Funimation to end the partnership and expand its global reach by other means.
With the Crunchyroll deal over, Funimation has since signed on with Hulu to deal more anime out to fans. The exclusive first-look deal with give Hulu first pick on Funimation’s new titles as they stream in the U.S.
"[Hulu will] help us get the mass exposure and we can get the hardcore anime fans on our platform," Fukunaga said about the new deal. "It was a good partnership in that sense and we can co-exist. And that's why it works for us.”
While Funimation prepares to seed its new deal with Hulu, Crunchyroll is continuing to expand its catalog. The company is still working closely with the streaming service VRV, a second operation being overseen by Crunchyroll's parent company Ellation Media. Recently, the streaming platform added anime titles from HIDIVE, and Crunchyroll is still pursuing exclusive titles for upcoming cours as well.
Are you bummed these companies couldn't find a middle ground for their partnership? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!