Sony Merges Anime Streaming Businesses Into Funimation

Sony has announced on Tuesday that it will consolidate three of their owned anime distribution companies. Those were, Funimation which is based in the United States, Wakanim based in France, and Madman Anime Group based in Australia. Funimation was under Sony Pictures Television, while the other two companies were under Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s Aniplex before the merger.

Under this joint venture, Funimation will acquire and distribute Japanese content within the streaming service in the U.S. and of course, Aniplex’s Wakanim in France and Madman Anime Group in Australia as mentioned above. The new structuring will be led by Funimation general manager Colin Decker.

In an exclusive interview with Variety:

“Anime is a growing area of importance for us at Sony Pictures Television,” SPT chairman Mike Hopkins said in announcing the JV. “By combining these businesses, we immediately increase our global reach and expertise in [subscription] VOD, theatrical, home video, merchandising, events and more.”

“It just became clear when we looked at the global view of anime at Sony, these things should really be together,” said Decker, who joined Funimation from rival Crunchyroll this past May. “Aniplex is one of the most respected names in anime and strategically this positions us to deliver more value to fans and creators.”

Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in North American distributor Funimation for US$143 million in 2017. Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll in November 2018 and signed a first-look streaming deal with Hulu. In March, Funimation and Chinese streaming platform bilibili announced a new partnership to jointly acquire anime licenses “over the next few years.” Funimation bought Manga Entertainment, which primarily distributes anime in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in May.

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