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Otter Media Invests US$22 Million in Crunchyroll's Parent Company Ellation

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Company to use funds for expanding product & engineering capabilities, original content initiatives

Tecnhnology news website TechCrunch reported on Saturday that Chernin's Otter Media is investing another US$22 million in Ellation, which is the parent company of media distribution service Crunchyroll.

TechCrunch also reported that Crunchyroll says that it now has 20 million registered users, and expects to have 750,000 paid subscribers by the end of 2015. Crunchyroll had announced last month that it had 700,000 paid subscribers, and the Japanese entertainment news website Anime! Anime! had reported last month that Crunchyroll had "surpassed 10 million registered users."

Ellation CEO Tom Pickett and Crunchyroll co-founder and general manager Kun Gao told TechCrunch that they would use the new funding to expand Crunchyroll's product and engineering capabilities. The two also said they would use the funds toward original content initiatives. Crunchyroll and Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corporation announced last month that they launched a joint venture to create a company focused on funding anime co-production projects.

The Chernin Group, a company run by former News Corporation executive Peter Chernin, had announced in December 2013 that it had acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll. The company noted at the time that it would use the website to expand into different genres.

Kun Gao co-founded Crunchyroll in 2007, and in 2008 the company raised US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock (the venture-capital arm of the Rockefeller family). GDH, the corporate parent of the Gonzo animation studio, also invested about US$2 million in Crunchyroll in 2008. Japanese media company TV Tokyo and Japanese e-book distributor Bitway each invested US$750,000 in Crunchyroll in 2010. Crunchyroll's "About" page currently lists its investors as Otter Media (a joint venture owned by The Chernin Group and AT&T) and TV Tokyo.

Crunchyroll launched its Crunchyroll Manga service in October 2013. The company offers simulcast services in North America, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Latin America.

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