Hulu is about to go all in on anime, and Funimation is here to back the streaming service up. Today, reports confirmed the companies have teamed up for an exclusive streaming deal that will get anime to audiences easier than ever before.
According to the new deal, Hulu will distribute scores of new Funimation titles starting in 2019. The first-look deal will bring titles licensed and produced by Funimation to Hulu's growing catalog, and it comes after Funimation ended its popular partnership with rival streaming service Crunchyroll.
This new plan is said to be a multiyear endeavor, and Variety went on to breakdown its details. Hulu will get first dibs on U.S. streaming rights to any anime series under Funimation. The video-on-demand access makes Hulu and Funimation the exclusive streamers for scores of new and old anime titles. As it stands, Hulu plans to bring in at least 20 new seasons of anime per year through simulcasts, and dubbed content will be added in as well.
"What this partnership brings us is the highest volume of high-quality anime hits, day and date when they release in Japan," Lisa Holme, Hulu's vice president of content acquisition, said. "We had a high degree of confidence in Funimation's ability to execute — to get the biggest, best, noisiest anime."
So far, no specific titles have been attached to the deal, but Holme did say Hulu is currently bidding with anime studios. "We do have some pretty big titles from Funimation on Hulu already, and to extent they have future seasons those are obvious targets," she explained.
For those curious how this deal may impact Funimation's streaming service, it will not be altered much. As it stands, Funimation Now will offer the same titles found on Hulu, but the companies do say their services will differ in demographic. While Hulu pursues more casual fans, Funimation will cater to hardcore otakus.
As for what this deal may do in terms of numbers, Hulu stands to gain a great many new series from Funimation. Currently, the anime licensor has more than 600 shows to its name while Hulu has amassed about 400 titles from various licensing deals. Now, the streaming service is set to gain more anime moving forward, and fans are looking forward to all the upcoming titles.
So, what do you think about this upcoming deal? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!