Sony Buying Crunchyroll is Bad for the Industry
A Billion Dollar Mistake
Rumor is going around today speculating that Sony is on the verge of acquiring Crunchyroll. It appears that the asking price set by AT&T is just shy of $1 Billion. Sony’s acquisition potentially brings the two biggest anime streaming platforms together under one roof. Funimation is already a part of the Sony portfolio, being bought back in 2017. This sale proceeding is the worst case scenario for otaku and anime enthusiasts.
This isn’t the first major division out of AT&T that has been shopped around this year. AT&T allegedly tried to pawn off the WB Studios portion of its portfolio a couple months ago to no success. Its not necessarily imperative that AT&T refrain from selling Crunchyroll, but rather that Sony does not gain control of both the major US based anime streaming platforms.
Competition is Good for the Industry
Competition is healthy for all industries. Needing to deliver a competitive product or service is ultimately beneficial for the consumer. The need to compete against Funimation keeps prices down, increases benefits to consumers, and adds to the growing library of anime, manga, and merchandise conveniently available in Stateside.
The obvious drawback to having two top end competing services is that consumer are forced to choose or spend extra to watch their favorite anime. If you only have $15 a month for a streaming service then you might feel that choice is negative effect. When you look elsewhere you can see that it isn’t.
In the gaming sphere, Microsoft clearly came in second place this last generation to Sony. This generation they are already working much harder to provide value with their Gamepass program. Customers now have more options from Microsoft’s concerted efforts to play catchup with gamers. Competition is good for the consumer.
As long as both Crunchyroll and Funimation continue to compete independent of each other we all win. They can continue to improve and expand their services beyond just the seasonal anime. Crunchyroll has recently expanded more into manga. Funimation continues to expand its simuldub program. These are things that didn’t exist a few years ago, and as long as they are competing for your dollar, more can come from this competitive relationship.
Not the Time for Contraction
Crunchyroll is already stagnant enough as it is. It took until this time last year to upgrade their player. Their app only just a couple of months ago with support for offline video player. This isn’t the time for contraction in our niche industry.
If Sony is ultimately successful in acquiring Crunchyroll, then it will take a herculean effort by one of the secondary or tertiary anime streaming platforms to keep them honest as Crunchyroll and Funimation join forces under one roof. It is gross to see the consolidation of the anime streaming industry when there is so much more growth to happen.
[Sources and Further Reading]
[Sony ‘Nears’ Acquisition of Crunchyroll]
[AT&T Seeks Sale of Warner Gaming Division]
[Settings Finally Complete Crunchyroll HTML5 Player]
[Crunchyroll Levels Up Its Membership Pricing]