Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe Group Join Forces

Anime Household Names Crunchyroll and VIZ Media Europe Group to Join Forces


SAN FRANCISCO, PARIS, LAUSANNE, BERLIN, September 6, 2019 -- Crunchyroll, a subsidiary of Otter Media (a WarnerMedia company) serving anime fans in more than 200 countries and territories, and VIZ Media Europe Group, one of Europe's established licensors and distributors of Japanese animation, have announced today the signing of an agreement to bring together Crunchyroll's global platform with VIZ Media Europe Group's EMEA-wide network of partners, distributors, and licensees. Through this strategic relationship, Crunchyroll will become the majority investor in VIZ Media Europe Group, with The Hitotsubashi Group (Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd.) retaining a minority stake in the company. Closing of the transaction will occur once closing conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of required antitrust clearances.

Crunchyroll, founded in 2006 as a simple anime-sharing platform, has grown to amass a passionate community of more than 50 million registered users through a variety of 360° content experiences including:

Streaming Video – Fans can choose between subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) and advertising-based-video-on-demand (AVOD) services; Crunchyroll's two million paying subscribers spend an average of 85 minutes per day streaming. Crunchyroll streams more than 1000 licensed anime titles across devices, professionally translated into eight languages. Original content, largely from Crunchyroll's studios in Tokyo and Los Angeles, will be joining the collection soon.

Events – Through participation in more than 180 events across 18 countries, Crunchyroll engages with an estimated 21 million anime fans globally each year. In addition, Crunchyroll hosts two marquee events annually, Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards.

Consumer Products – Crunchyroll creates and sells a wide variety of anime products through more than 100 merchandising partners and their direct-to-consumer Crunchyroll Store. More than 2000 SKU's are currently available online for purchase in the Crunchyroll Store.

Games – Crunchyroll Games is a game publisher working on a growing collection of anime-based experiences for fans; four mobile games are currently available.

Manga – Fans can download the Crunchyroll Manga app on mobile devices, with new titles updated regularly.

VIZ Media Europe Group, comprised of VIZ Media Europe (VME), AV Visionen, Anime Versand and VIZ Media Switzerland (VMS), is an established licensor and distributor of Japanese content for the EMEA region, bringing fans a variety of 360° experiences, including:

Content Distribution – VME and VMS are the content suppliers for EMEA TV broadcasters and VOD platforms. More than 40,000 hours of animation of all ages have been distributed in 100+ countries.

Theatrical Distribution – Regular anime rendezvous at theaters in Europe and successful event screenings (Kazé Anime Night) in German-speaking territories.

Consumer Products – Licensing, brand management and retail development for all categories in EMEA.

Manga Publishing – VME and VMS started successfully under the brand Kazé Manga in 2010 in French Speaking Europe and in 2012 in German-speaking Europe.

DVD Home Entertainment - VIZ Media Europe Group's robust home video capabilities span across France (through Kazé), Germany (through AV Visionen), and German-speaking Europe including Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (through VIZ Media Switzerland).

Streaming Video – Anime on Demand (AoD) launched in 2007 as the first legal streaming platform in Germany for anime with nearly 5000 episodes and films available. Launched in 2013, Anime Digital Network (ADN), in partnership with Média-Participations, is a French platform dedicated to anime, with more than 6000 episodes and films available.

“Crunchyroll and VIZ Media Europe Group will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote our respective licensed and original content,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. “We look forward to learning from and collaborating with our new colleagues in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, so we can continuously create the most engaging experiences for anime and manga communities around the world.”

“Japanese manga and anime are now established as a unique culture throughout the world. Through VIZ Media Europe group, Shogakukan, Shueisha, and ShoPro strive to apply our collective expertise and experience to share and promote Japanese manga and anime throughout Europe,” said Nobuhiro Oga, senior managing director of Shogakukan. “The growth of the manga and anime market in Europe has been in thanks to the love and support given to Japanese content from our partners throughout Europe. Together with Crunchyroll, we intend to introduce even more of our works and better service to our European fans. We look forward to working together with our respected partners, to provide greater support to our growing audience.”

“We have built a large network in EMEA and beyond, expanding our manga and licensing expertise through multiple skills in various business lines: TV, DVD, Digital & Merchandising,” said Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, CEO of VIZ Media Europe Group. “Over the last decade, our team has shown a deep understanding of Japanese pop culture and adaptation within local markets, and I believe this relationship will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate.”

“We look forward to working with Crunchyroll, an established player in the anime industry worldwide, and hope to further the anime industry in Germany by sharing our experience,” said Mathias Nowoczin, managing director of AV Visionen. “With this relationship, we will be able to offer even more anime to our fans. Our brands KAZÉ Anime, KAZÉ Manga and Anime on Demand will be able to expand our recognized position as a German anime publisher through the varied and high-quality portfolio.”

"Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture, and we are committed to this growing category. This transaction between Crunchyroll and VIZ Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”

About Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll, a subsidiary of Otter Media (a WarnerMedia company), connects a community of 50 million registered users and 2 million subscribers with 360-degree content experiences. Fans connect through one of the world's largest collections of anime including "Naruto Shippuden," "Attack on Titan," and “Dragon Ball Super,” as well as Crunchyroll Games, Crunchyroll News, events such as Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards, and can purchase related merchandise through its online store and retail partners. Through its app on game consoles, set-top boxes, mobile devices and more, Crunchyroll delivers content from leading media producers directly to viewers translated professionally in multiple languages. The service is available for free or through a premium offering that allows users to watch ad-free with access to simulcasts—top series available immediately after Japanese broadcast.

Crunchyroll is an Ellation, Inc. brand. As part of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia company, Ellation operates at the intersection of technology and media, with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Tokyo, and Chișinău.

About VIZ Media Europe

Headquartered in Paris, France, VIZ Media Europe (VME) specializes in managing the development, marketing and distribution throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa of Japanese animated entertainment and graphic novels (manga).

Owned by three of Japan's largest creators, publishers and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VME handles the comprehensive distribution, licensing and promotion of some of the most popular Japanese manga and animation properties for consumers of all ages.

VME administers an integrated product line including graphic novels, home video (DVD/Blu-ray) and consumer products. Current VME animated properties include: BLEACH, CAPTAIN TSUBASA, DEATH NOTE, DORAEMON, MY HERO ACADEMIA, ONE PUNCH MAN, YO-KAI WATCH.

About VIZ Media Switzerland

VIZ Media Switzerland is a leading publisher of anime in German speaking countries. Founded 1995 in Switzerland under the name Anime Virtual, the company is a pacesetter in production and distribution of Japanese animation in Germany. In 2006 and 2008 it widened its portfolio to include music production and live action movies. In 2012 VIZ Media Switzerland created a book publishing branch, starting a label for Japanese comic books (manga).

VIZ Media Switzerland is active in all German-speaking territories as well as Northern and Eastern Europe.

Led by blockbuster titles such as DRAGON BALL, ONE PIECE, DETECTIVE CONAN, FAIRY TAIL, DEATH NOTE, SAILOR MOON, ONE PUNCH MAN, BLEACH, MY HERO ACADEMIA, and ATTACK ON TITAN, classical Movies such as GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, A SILENT VOICE as well as prestigious “indie” titles such as A SILENT VOICE, PSYCHO PASS, MIRAI NIKKI, PARANOIA AGENT and Oscar-nominee MIRAI NO MIRAI. Added to this VIZ is licensee of Asian live action movies and TV drama.

The manga catalogue of VIZ media Switzerland includes top titles such as TOKYO GHOUL, ONE-PUNCH MAN, SERAPH OF THE END and BLUE EXORCIST.

VIZ Media Switzerland has become one of the most influential companies in the German anime and manga industry.

About AV VISIONEN GmbH

The Berlin-based AV Visionen GmbH is a subsidiary of VIZ Media Switzerland and part of the VIZ Media Europe Group. It is a media distributor with its own sales representatives and direct listing at all major retail chains. The sales network covers all sales channels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: traditionally from chain bookstore and comic book retailers to the leading trade chain, as well as digitally with a video-on-demand service.

The catalog features anime classics and cult hits from various Anime Label (KAZÉ, Anime House, Peppermint) (DRAGONBALL Z, THE GIRL WHO LEPT THROUGH TIME, DETECTIVE CONAN, SWORD ART ONLINE or ATTACK ON TITAN), as well as sophisticated, award-winning titles (THE GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, SUMMER WARS, MIRAI NO MIRAI), as well as 50 Live Action movies, series and documentaries (DEATH NOTE, ATTACK ON TITAN, 100 YEN LOVE, 4 BLOCKS, BAD BANKS, BERLIN CALLING, HEIMATKUNDE, IN BERLIN).

Since Spring 2019 AV Visionen started its own manga paperbacks distribution networks for the KAZÉ Manga label and will expand its portfolio to other Manga labels from Autumn 2019.

All stages of DVD and book production of the KAZÉ Label are handled in-house in our own production agency: from translation and editing to graphic design and print production, for the products themselves as for all marketing materials.

In 2007 AV Visionen started theatrical distribution of anime films and hosts since 2016 a very successful monthly Anime Cinema Event: “KAZÉ ANIME NIGHTS”.

About Shogakukan Inc.

Shogakukan, founded in 1922, began by launching learning magazines targeting elementary school children in Japan. The company expanded from children's magazines to the general magazine field and has become a general publishing company with a book division that releases picture books, illustrated reference books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, literary works, how-to books, e-books, etc.

About Shueisha Inc.

Established in 1926, Shueisha, which means “the gathering of intellect” in Japanese is a leading publisher of manga (Japanese-style comics), magazines, books and digital content. Shueisha has produced many manga properties translated and published in over 40 countries and regions. Many of these titles have been adapted to television and cinema in the form of anime and live-action features.

About Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd. (ShoPro)

Shogakukan Production was established in 1967 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Shogakukan.

In addition to the character licensing business, it has a media division that creates TV content, an event management business, a publishing business, a mail order business, and an education division that conducts education for a wide range of ages. Shueisha acquired an equity stake in Shogakukan Production to create Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions in 2008.

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