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Funimation, Hulu Sign First-Look Streaming Deal for New Anime

posted on by Karen Ressler
Hulu to get first pick of Funimation's new licenses in U.S. starting in 2019

Hulu and FUNimation Entertainment announced on Tuesday that they have signed an exclusive first-look deal for Hulu to stream anime licensed by Funimation. Starting in 2019, Hulu will get first pick on Funimation's new titles in the United States, so Hulu and Funimation will be the only U.S. streaming outlets for some of Funimation's simulcasts and simuldubs.

Lisa Holme, Hulu's VP of content acquisition, told Variety that Hulu's plan is to get more than 20 series — subtitled and dubbed — per year, and added that its has "some pretty big titles from Funimation and Hulu already."

As part of an existing agreement between the two companies, Hulu already streams a number of Funimation titles, including Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, and My Hero Academia.

The companies emphasized that the market for Funimation's streaming platform is dedicated anime fans, while Hulu is aimed at a broader audience. Eric Berger, chief digital officer of Funimation's parent company Sony Pictures Television, explained that Funimation is aiming to "play bigger" with this deal with Hulu. He told Variety, "By acquiring titles for a larger footprint, you can look for some stronger titles and ultimately be a better partners for anime studios in Japan."

Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll on November 9. Funimation president and CEO Gen Fukunaga explained that the decision to end the partnership was because of its acquisition by Sony Pictures Television Networks in 2017, as Sony is investing in Funimation to make it a "global sub and dub anime brand."

Sources: Variety (Todd Spangler), Press Release

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