What just happened? Why is Funimation backing out of their deal to share streaming space with Crunchyroll and VRV?
Variety broke the news today. Funi has opted not to renew their current contract with both streamers, and the deal as-is will expire November 9. Why would a partnership that worked so well be dissolved so quickly? Well….
In 2016 Funimation entered a deal with anime streaming service Crunchyroll to share content. Between then and now, AT&T purchased a controlling stake in both Crunchyroll and VRV (which gained Funimation titles later). And then, more recently, Funimation was purchased by Sony…the Emoji Movie Sony; the “bad decision haven” Sony.
Sony has different plans for Funimation than the previous owners did. They want FunimationNow to become the dominant streaming destination for anime, not anyone else, and they’re firing the first shot. Also, AT&T is another giant corporation and they just feel like sticking it to them. Caught in the middle of this battle: you.
The question on everyone’s mind: will the most popular properties owned by Funi now disappear behind a pricey paywall? Mayhaps not. Crunchyroll is not surrendering completely, and is currently negotiating with Funi to keep the most popular shows available on their channel — titles like My Hero Academia. As for VRV, they announced a new deal to share content with fellow streamer HIDIVE on the same day.
In other, completely unrelated and totally coincidental news, internet piracy is on the rise.