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Crunchyroll Inc. (doing business as Crunchyroll) is an American website and international online community focused on video streaming East Asian media including anime, manga, drama, music, electronic entertainment, and auto racing content. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates, Crunchyroll's distribution channel and partnership program deliver content to over twenty million online community members worldwide. Crunchyroll is co-owned by Otter Media (a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group) and TV Tokyo.

Crunchyroll offers over 200 anime shows and more than 200 Asian dramas to users, although not all programming is available worldwide due to licensing restrictions.  

The Crunchyroll YouTube channel is the place where they primarily post trailers and clips of currently airing seasonal anime that simulcasts on the website.

History

Crunchyroll started in 2006 as a for-profit video upload and streaming site that specialized in hosting East Asian video content. Some of the content hosted on Crunchyroll included fansubbed versions of East Asian shows.

In 2008, Crunchyroll secured a capital investment of $4.05 million from the venture capital firm Venrock. The investment drew criticism from anime distributors and licensors Bandai Entertainment and Funimation as the site continued to allow users to upload illegal copies of licensed titles.

However, Crunchyroll eventually began securing legal distribution agreements with companies, including Gonzo, for an increasing number of titles. On January 8, 2009, after announcing a deal with TV Tokyo to host episodes of Naruto Shippuden, Crunchyroll stated that it was committed to removing all copyright-infringing material from its site and hosting only content to which it had legitimate distribution rights.

In 2010, Crunchyroll announced its acquisition of the North American DVD rights to 5 Centimeters Per Second. This was the first DVD release licensed by Crunchyroll.

On October 30, 2013, Crunchyroll began digitally distributing 12 different manga titles from Kodansha – series such as Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail were part of the manga that was available initially – through Crunchyroll Manga.

On December 2, 2013, The Chernin Group, former News Corp. president Peter Chernin's holding company, announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in Crunchyroll. A person with knowledge of the transaction said the price for the acquisition was close to $100 million. The Chernin Group said that Crunchyroll management and existing investor TV Tokyo will maintain a "significant" stake in the company.

On April 22, 2014, AT&T and The Chernin Group announced the formation of a joint venture to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services. Both companies committed over $500 million in funding to the venture. The new company was named Otter Media and became the majority owner of Crunchyroll. On August 3, 2015, Variety reported that Otter Media will unveil Ellation, a new umbrella company for its subscription-based video services including Crunchyroll.

On October 22, 2015, the Anime News Network announced that Crunchyroll has 700,000 paying subscribers. Also, it was revealed that Crunchyroll and Sumitomo Corporation created a joint venture to produce and invest in anime productions.]

On April 11, 2016, Crunchyroll and Kadokawa Corporation announced the formation of a strategic alliance that gave Crunchyroll exclusive worldwide digital distribution rights (excluding Asia) for Kadokawa anime titles in the upcoming year. It also granted Crunchyroll the right to co-finance Kadokawa anime titles to be produced in the future.

On July 1, 2016, Crunchyroll announced plans to dub and release several series on home video.

On September 8, 2016, Crunchyroll announced a partnership with Funimation. Crunchyroll will stream selected Funimation titles, while Funimation will stream selected Crunchyroll titles, as well as their upcoming dubbed content. Besides, Funimation and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will act as distributors for Crunchyroll's home video catalog. On October 18, 2018, Funimation announced that their partnership with Crunchyroll has ended as a result of Sony Pictures Television's acquisition of Funimation and AT&T's acquisition of Crunchyroll's parent company Otter Media.

On February 9, 2017, Crunchyroll announced that it had reached one million paid subscribers.

On March 30, 2017, Crunchyroll began to distribute anime through Steam.

On November 4, 2017, a group of hackers managed to DNS hijack the official site for almost 6 hours. Users were redirected to a fake lookalike site which prompted users to download some ransomware under the guise of "CrunchyViewer". Crunchyroll has filed a first information report against the hackers.

In January 2018, Otter Media bought the remaining shares (20%) of Crunchyroll from TV Tokyo and other investors. In August 2018, AT&T acquired the remainder of Otter Media that it did not already own from Chernin Group; the company and Crunchyroll were thus folded under WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner, of which AT&T had also recently completed an acquisition).

In October 2018, the service announced an expansion into original content with the anime-inspired series High Guardian Spice produced by Ellation Studios.

On March 4, 2019, it was announced that Otter Media would be placed under Warner Bros. as part of a reorganization. As a result of the same reorganization, the company and Crunchyroll became corporate sisters to the U.S. cable channels Cartoon Network and Adult Swim—which have been known for their television broadcasting of anime under the Toonami brand. Due to a subsequent reorganization, Crunchyroll was moved under WarnerMedia Entertainment (owner of networks such as TBS and TNT) in May 2019, so that its COO could oversee an upcoming entertainment streaming service from the brand.

On July 3, 2019, Crunchyroll announced that they had partnered with Viz Media to distribute select Crunchyroll licensed titles on home video and electronic sell-through in the United States and Canada.

On July 20, 2019, independent Australian production company Glitch Productions announce that they had partnered with Crunchyroll to produce their YouTube original series, Meta Runner.

On September 6, 2019, Crunchyroll announced that it had become the majority investor in Viz Media Europe.

Anime Licenses

Below is a list of anime series licensed for home video release in North America by Crunchyroll.

  • Berserk (2016)
  • Big Order
  • Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club (Season 1 only, acquired from Discotek Media)
  • Gin Tama (acquired from Sentai Filmworks)
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
  • Myriad Colors Phantom World
  • Twin Star Exorcists
  • Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches

Availability

Free access to Crunchyroll is available on desktop browsers, and devices with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android that are connected to a Wi-Fi source. However, not all content is offered for free. Some content requires a paid subscription service of $6.95/month, while other content becomes free after a delay, usually a week after availability for the paid members, and only paid members to have access to the content in HD. Some titles are subscription only, based on licensing agreements. Some titles are only available in certain regions of the world; some titles available in the United States may not be available in other countries.

With paid memberships, streaming to select Windows Phone devices (with OS 7.5 or higher), Roku devices, Boxee, Wii U, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles, and Vizio, Google, and Internet-enabled televisions are available.  In June 2013 the service became available through Apple TV.

See Also

References

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