Tokyo: Japanese iconic brand Sony is geared to acquire US anime-streaming service Crunchyroll, according to Nikkei Asia. Sony may spend more than 100 billion yen ($957 million) on the American anime streamer, gaining its 70 million members around the world, reports the website.
The acquisition deal will intensify competition for anime content among streamers like Hulu and Netflix.
As of now Sony licenses its own anime like Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) to streaming services. Sony-owned anime and music production company Aniplex has diverse content that is distributed to overseas companies.
San Francisco-headquartered Crunchyroll, which was acquired by US telecommunications company AT&T in 2018, has 70 million free members and 3 million paying subscribers in more than 200 countries and regions.
In 2017, Sony acquired anime distributor Funimation, in turn gaining 1 million paying subscribers.
Crunchyroll will reportedly give Sony more than 1,000 titles.
Sony’s total operating income from games, music and movies is expected to reach $4.79 billion for the fiscal year ending March.
The demand for anime content has been growing of late, especially after the world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Streamers like Netflix is keen on associating with animation studios.
The Association of Japanese Animations has put the global anime market in 2018 at around $21 billion.