Sony Pictures to Acquire Majority Stake in Funimation, Daisuki to End Anime Streaming

Why is that the cover image for this article? We’ll get to that later.

First, let’s talk about the two major announcements this week. Yesterday Sony Pictures TV announced that will acquire a majority stake, at 95%, of Funimation for $143 million dollars. That means they valued Funimation at $150 million. Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will remain as CEO and retain a minority stake in Funimation. Today Funimation posted a FAQ about the acquisition that basically states business will continue as normal. The deal with Crunchyroll/VRV has not changed, neither has the pricing for FunimationNOW. It also goes to state that Aniplex, which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan, is not involved in this transaction. It is important to note that while both Sony, one is Sony Pictures TV and the other is Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

The second major news this week is that Daisuki announced today that it will be shutting down it’s streaming service in October of this year. Daisuki was run by Anime Consortium Japan, which was a joint venture of multiple anime studios. Daisuki’s simulcast of Dragon Ball Super however will continue, despite the service shutting down October 31st. How this will be down will be announced at a later date. Daisuki Next service will end on September 29th, and the app will be unavailable to download starting October 2nd. Daisuki was founded in 2013 by Toei Animation, Sunrise, TMS Entertainment, Nihon Ad Systems, Denstu, Asatsu-DK, and…Aniplex. Daisuki eventually merged with Anime Consortium Japan in 2014 with the addition of Bandai Namco Holdings and the Cool Japan Fund. Bandai Namco purchased the rest of the shares for Anime Consortium Japan in March of this year, becoming the sole controller over Daisuki.

Let’s dig a little deeper here. Earlier this year it was reported that Sony and Universal were both eyeing in buying Funimation. Universal entered into a multi-year distribution deal with Funimation in 2015, where Universal would distribute the home DVD and Blu-Ray releases. A source had said that Universal had ended up passing, but Sony, as we now know, did not pass. It was also announced last month that Crunchyroll would be working with NBC Universal on new anime projects with an international appeal. Funimation and Crunchyroll, as you may know, entered into a partnership last year where the two began sharing libraries. Crunchyroll would handle the subbed simulcasts, where Funimation would focus on dubbing them within 2 weeks after they aired in Japan. Funimation would also handle the distribution of Crunchyroll’s titles.

Now that cover image is starting to come together now isn’t it? That’s basically how I feel now. There is no Pepe Silvia. Or maybe there is, and he really wants his mail. What does this all mean? Is it some large conspiracy? Maybe so, maybe not. What is for sure is that a lot of movement is being made as everyone tries to position themselves in the anime market. Let us know what you think of all of this in the comments. I’ll read them, I swear.


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