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Funimation, bilibili Establish Partnership for Joint Anime Licensing

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Both companies will jointly license anime for United States, China

American anime publisher Funimation and Chinese streaming platform bilibili jointly announced a new partnership to acquire anime licenses during AnimeJapan 2019 on Saturday. The new partnership will see both companies jointly acquiring licenses "over the next few years," and will include IP rights for broadcast television, video-on-demand, electronic sell-through, home entertainment, gaming, and merchandise in the United States and China.

Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in Funimation in 2017, at which time Funimation founder Gen Fukunaga retained his general manager position and a minority stake in the business. (Funimation revealed in February that Fukunaga is transitioning to a chairperson role.) As a result of the acquisition, Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll last November. Funimation has now signed a first-look streaming deal with Hulu.

The company bilibili was founded in 2009, and it is China's largest streaming platform for Japanese animation, above TencentVideo and iQIYI. The company streams anime titles and also invests in anime productions. The website also includes Chinese animation and user-uploaded content. The service collects both advertising revenue and pay-per-view subscription charges.

Source: Press release, AnimeJapan stage presentation

Update: Fukunaga retained a minority stake and not a majority stake in Funimation.


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