About the company
Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates. The company is an American distributor, production and licensing company that streams Japanese animated content.
Earlier this year it was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s Aniplex, for approximately US$ 1.75 billion.
According to its website, it connects fans across 200+ countries and territories through its Japanese content. Along with its streaming capability, Crunchyroll also provides experiences to deepen fan engagement and community through social, events, games, consumer products, content distribution, content creation, and manga publishing (read more about thai below).
When the company launched it was a video and streaming site that aimed to specialise in hosting East Asian video content which included fansubbed versions of shows from the region. As it was fansubbed, usually the content on the site was illegal copies of titles on the site. Despite this, the site received a US$ 4 million investment in 2008.
A year later, it began with licensed distribution agreements with companies and it announced that it will host only content for which it had legitimate distribution rights.
This led to investments from the likes of The Chernin Group (the holding company of the former News Corp president). In 2014, The Chernin Group partnered with AT&T and announced that it will be launching an OTT service.
From then, it has achieved landmark after landmark and was acquired by Sony earlier this year.
What are they doing?
Along with the primary OTT experience, which is supreme, Crunchyroll has managed to become numero uno in the Anime space. As of August 2021, it had a user base of five million paid subscribers and more than 120 million registered users. That’s staggering for an OTT player that is in a niche topic area like Japanese animation series.
It’s present across devices (Fire TV, Roku Box, Apple TV, Android, Wii U, etc), allows a 14-day free trial, offers a free and premium service, and ticks the basic requirements for an OTT app.
While content has been the bedrock, Crunchyroll hasn’t just stopped there. It also creates events (sponsored or owned) like the Crunchyroll Expo, The Anime Awards, and Kaze Anime Nights in regions like France and Germany. Further, it has retail distribution and e-commerce for licensed merchandise for its shows, which makes sure that its presence is across the world.
While this works, there are complaints about the OTT app – with consumers claiming it does not offer enough personalisation, discoverability of new shows (search) isn’t easy which leads to an undesirable user experience for many.
While the above is a slight dampener for its OTT service (which won’t be an issue if you partner with the likes of Enveu to create your offering), the content on Crunchyroll keeps the service top-of-mind for its users. It also proves that if Japanese animated content can attract 120 million users, there’s scope out there for many genres to grow a huge userbase around the world.
If you’ve got the content idea in mind, it’s time to take the leap and start your OTT platform. We at Enveu are here to help.