Funimation, Crunchyroll End Content-Sharing Partnership (Update)
posted on by Karen Ressler
The streaming channel bundle service VRV, owned by Crunchyroll parent company Ellation, also announced that it will no longer have the FunimationNOW streaming service as part of its VRV Premium Subscription, or as an individual channel subscription, as of November 9. Instead, the bundle will add the HIDIVE streaming service.
According to a memo to Funimation staff from Funimation's president and CEO Gen Fukunaga, FunimationNOW subscribers will gain access to the subtitled versions of "several hundred" titles on November 9, but will lose a "handful" of dubbed titles. Crunchyroll also noted that a number of titles will leave both services, and that the companies will update later on which titles will be impacted.
Crunchyroll clarified, however, that currently-airing simulcasts and series that premiered during the partnership (including Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia) will still be available on Crunchyroll, and all planned home video releases will still ship as scheduled. Fukunaga also said that all titles licensed during the partnership will still be shared between the two companies.
Crunchyroll explained that the partnership is ending because "Funimation has decided to go their separate way." Fukunaga explained that Funimation's decision to end the partnership was due to its acquisition by Sony Pictures Television Networks last year, as Sony is investing in Funimation to make it a "global sub and dub anime brand." Fukunaga said that the partnership "ended amicably this month."
Crunchyroll and Funimation first announced their partnership in September 2016. As part of the partnership, many English-subtitled versions of anime moved from Funimation's streaming service to Crunchyroll, leaving Funimation with the English-dubbed versions. The companies would license titles for simulcast streaming, with Crunchyroll streaming the subtitled version and Funimation streaming a simuldub.
In addition, Funimation released some Crunchyroll catalog titles on home video with English dubs, and some titles digitally with English subtitles.
Crunchyroll also recently underwent a change in ownership; AT&T announced in August that it has acquired all of Ellation's holding company Otter Media, a joint venture it previously co-owned with The Chernin Group.
Update: Funimation confirmed that it will begin regularly offering subtitled simulcasts beginning "as early as" the winter 2019 season. Free users will be able to watch the subtitled versions of several hundred shows, but Funimation will not relaunch its subtitle-only subscription tier.
In addition, Funimation said that it expects several hundred subtitled shows to launch soon on FunimationNOW in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Funimation also hopes to offer its streaming service in non-English languages in the future.
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