Sony buys Crunchyroll!
No, I haven't been living under a rock. I was aware that Sony (who also owns Funimation) purchased Crunchyroll from AT&T/Warner more than a week ago (on Dec 9th). I was surprised that no one had already posted...so here we go!
my thoughts (feel free to riff on these or add your own in comments):
- Funimation's app sucks. Maybe now they'll figure out how do make a decent one for Roku (insert streaming device of your choice here)
- will Sony relaunch a combined service (a la VRV) or as this going to be part of a broader Sony-centric streaming service (like the failed Sony VUE, that Sony killed in October?)
- somehow I don't think this will lead to the monthly costs going down (whatever the new service gets called once the merger gets finalized)
- what will this do to international markets where Funimation/AnimeLab is and Crunchyroll isn't (or visa versa)??
The biggest worry is subtitles.
Crunchyroll have had some pretty bad subtitles recently with some shows like oregairu getting virtually no attention paid to context/understanding and being as bad as an MTL.
Funimation however outright rewrites lines and inserts western cultural nonsense into shows. It's bad enough to see in dubs beyond what's necessary but subtitles should always represent what was said as often as possible, they're a big source of foreign language learning.
For the most part, I have ignored Crunchyroll, because "I don't do streaming". I prefer to buy stuff I think I'd like.
Both Cruchyroll and Netflix have delayed access to the purchase option for 6 to 24 months, some times more, to maintain their exclusives.
Netflix is worse; Seven Deadly Sins was streaming all of season two before season one was released 26 months ago. The dub of Clannad was streaming on Netflix for three years before it was released on disk.
Will Funimation plus Crunchroll happen? Will it be good? I don't know.
Question, though, is this the part of Sony that is owned by Disney? That throws its own complications into the mix if it is.
@kurosov Oregairu subtitles were provided by Sentai Filmworks, CR had nothing to do in producing those. Same with several Funimation shows on CR like AoT, MHA, Fruits Basket, etc.
Crunchyroll does severely underpay their translators however, so hopefully that may be addressed soon.
is this the part of Sony that is owned by Disney?
As far as I can tell, it is not. Funimation (and Aniplex and some other anime centered companies) are owned by Sony Music Entertainment, no Disney affiliation. (I actually couldn't find what part of Sony that Disney does own.- it is notable that although Disney owns Marvel, Sony still has film rights to Spiderman)
@Jon-Mitchell OK, I was confused by the fact that Sony uses Disney to distribute some Sony Pictures stuff on disk. No ownership, just contracts.
what will this do to international markets where Funimation/AnimeLab is and Crunchyroll isn't (or visa versa)??
It will completely f**k the English home video market outside North America.
Both Australia and the UK are still getting back catalogue stuff from the last deal that Funimation released region A/B in the US and refused to sub licence to their partners in those markets(at the time Anime Limited and Madman.)
It may be a bit different this time considering Funimation now own Manga Entertainment in the UK and Aniplex own Madman.
so this deal is now final and in reading the news/press releases it looks like Funimation is looking forward to welcoming Crunchyroll's staff/IPs (hinting that CR is going away? Funimation will remain?) what this means for VRV and the Sony licensed titles on Hulu, I have no idea- I'm in wait and see mode before I start cancelling services (hoping for some promo benefit for 'active' subscribers when whatever change happens, happens)
my heart goes out to the folks at CR doing translation work/ subtitles- I'm guessing many of them will soon be out of a job (redundancies/'synergies' whatnot when mergers happen- I doubt Sony will let many of their own folks go)
I'm cynical by nature - I believe that this will lead to less quality in translations of 'subs' and more of the same mediocre 'dubs' and my costs not going down- Sony needs to make back $1.2B
On the 'bright' side maybe more translators available to bolster Kadokowa's direct LN plan or in the talent pool for other TL work ?