THIS IS MY OPINION AND MY OPINION ONLY!
If you guys haven’t heard already, massive news has come out on 8th September. FUNimation and Crunchyroll, two major anime streaming services have now gone into partnership where they will help and share their licenses with each other to bring more content to anime fans in west.
Crunchyroll is one of the biggest, if not the biggest legal anime streaming site there is, with countless amount of shows available to watch in Sub depending on the region, whereas FUNimation is known for their excellence in Dub releases and home video releases. This partnership allows both companies to use their expertise and their strength to bring best possible experience for us anime watchers without making us worry about whether Crunchyroll or FUNimation will get the streaming rights. Let’s be honest, subscribing to two streaming site for anime is not cheap but previously without resorting to illegal means we weren’t able to watch some shows if you only subscribed to one service. Now with this partnership there will be one less headache for anime fans… that’s the hope anyway.
Many good things can and will come out of this partnership, but there might be potential down side to this development, so what will it be? Let’s look at some Pros and Cons.
Well let’s get the easiest one out of the way. With cross platform agreement FUNimation titles will be available on Crunchyroll and Crunchyroll titles will be available on FUNimation streaming services. According to both Crunchyroll and FUNimation following shows will be available either now or near future.
FUNimation titles available on Crunchyroll (Sub)
- Gray Man HALLOW
- FIRST LOVE MONSTER
- Puzzle & Dragons X
- Cowboy Bebop
- Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Crunchyroll titles available on FUNimation (Broadcast Dub)
- 91 Days
- Mob Psycho 100
- Shinmai Maou no Testament
And that’s just starting roaster with more shows planned for future. Not to mention multiple Crunchyroll titles will be getting Home release via FUNimation network, so we will be able to see many of Crunchyroll titles released in DVD format by FUNimation.
As mentioned above, sharing of licenses will allow us anime watchers not to worry about who will get the distribution rights to certain show, giving us less headache. This can also potentially lessen the burden on both sites. Crunchyroll is known for their excellent Sub works, so FUNimation can focus on their Broadcast Dub and home releases so if the agreement between two companies is such that they will share resources with each other as well as their licenses I can see them fully utilising each other to give us best possible experience. Crunchyroll can focus on their Subtitle and streaming services, while FUNimation can focus on their Dubbing and Home releases.
Another big positive that came out of this agreement is the pricing of subscription. Crunchyroll is keeping their two tier subscription with Premium and Premium+ plans without change of pricing, which isn’t necessary bad. But the major change came from FUNimation where they have announced that they will be changing their subscription model from two tier system to one tier system. Previously you had choice between Sub Pass and Dub Pass, where Dub Pass gave both Sub anime and Dub anime on FUNimation platform. After the change, they essentially only have got Dub Pass with Sub Pass pricing. Yes they are keeping low tier pricing and giving you more for that money. Current pricing is not $5.99 per month or £59.99 per year, which was equivalent to their Sub Only Pass pricing.
All these points make it sound like this partnership between Crunchyroll and FUNimation will work out to be sounding success, but there is always a flip side of a coin.
This more like concern rather than negative outcome due to partnership since we are yet to know the full extent of this partnership. I would also like to add that what I’m writing in this section is merely a speculation and my own opinion.
It is clear from both companies that they are not merging two services together, and will continue to be separate entities for foreseeable future. However, business is business and people’s mind can change especially when it comes to topic of money. So my primary concern is that in the future Crunchyroll and FUNimation will merge to form one giant company, or at least work together as they are one company. Why I am concerned about that? Monopoly.
Since Crunchyroll and FUNimation are probably the two largest company that streams anime legally, it can be said that they’ve got the dominant market share in this industry at least in the west. Yeah Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are getting into this anime streaming but compared to long established brands such as them they are no competition even if they are bigger companies. So what Crunchyroll and FUNimation can do is control the market, raise the price collectively and no one will be able to stop them. Sounds familiar? This is what American cable companies are doing right now. Yes this is pure speculation, but possibilities are there.
Lesser concern I want to raise is that according to ANN, currently this deal only applies to users in US and Canada. I can understand the reasoning, they are both American companies and most of their revenue are generated from viewers from America. But the fact that they had to exclude other countries is still bummer. I’m sure they are working on the deal in Europe as well (I mean, they’ll be crazy if they are not) but god knows how long they are going to take to expand this deal.
These are mere speculation, so don’t take them to your heart. Personally I think this is very good deal that has been struck between two companies, and it looks like consumers are already getting the benefits from this merger in forms of series Dubs, lowered subscription etc. I would love to see where this goes from now on. Now if both company can release this in Europe…