September 6, 2019
Crunchyroll, a subsidiary of Otter Media (a WarnerMedia company) serving anime fans in more than 200 countries and territories, and Viz Media Europe Group, a European licensor and distributor of Japanese animation, have signed an agreement to join Crunchyroll’s global platform with Viz Media Europe Group’s network of partners, distributors and licensees.
Through this strategic relationship, Crunchyroll will become the majority investor in Viz Media Europe Group, with the Hitotsubashi Group (Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions) retaining a minority stake in the company. Closing of the transaction will occur once closing conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of required antitrust clearances.
Crunchyroll, founded in 2006 as an anime-sharing platform, has grown to amass more than 50 million registered users through a variety of content experiences including SVOD and AVOD streaming video, with 2 million paying subscribers and more than 1,000 licensed titles as well as original content; events in more than 18 countries, including hosting two marquee events annually, Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards; consumer anime products; games; and manga. Its content collection includes “Naruto Shippuden,” “Attack on Titan,” and “Dragon Ball Super.”
Viz Media Europe Group, comprised of Viz Media Europe (VME), AV Visionen, Anime Versand and Viz Media Switzerland (VMS), is an established licensor and distributor of Japanese content for the EMEA region, bringing fans a variety of experiences, including content distribution, theatrical distribution, consumer products, manga publishing, DVDs and streaming video, including Anime on Demand (AoD) launched in 2007 as the first legal streaming platform in Germany for anime with nearly 5,000 episodes and films available, and Anime Digital Network (ADN), a French platform launched in 2013 in partnership with Média-Participations dedicated to anime with more than 6,000 episodes and films available.
“Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe Group will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote our respective licensed and original content,” said Joanne Waage, GM of Crunchyroll, in a statement. “We look forward to learning from and collaborating with our new colleagues in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, so we can continuously create the most engaging experiences for anime and manga communities around the world.”
“Japanese manga and anime are now established as a unique culture throughout the world. Through Viz Media Europe group, Shogakukan, Shueisha, and ShoPro strive to apply our collective expertise and experience to share and promote Japanese manga and anime throughout Europe,” said Nobuhiro Oga, senior managing director of Shogakukan, in a statement. “The growth of the manga and anime market in Europe has been in thanks to the love and support given to Japanese content from our partners throughout Europe. Together with Crunchyroll, we intend to introduce even more of our works and better service to our European fans. We look forward to working together with our respected partners, to provide greater support to our growing audience.”
“We have built a large network in EMEA and beyond, expanding our manga and licensing expertise through multiple skills in various business lines: TV, DVD, Digital & Merchandising,” said Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, CEO of Viz Media Europe Group, in a statement. “Over the last decade, our team has shown a deep understanding of Japanese pop culture and adaptation within local markets, and I believe this relationship will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate.”
“We look forward to working with Crunchyroll, an established player in the anime industry worldwide, and hope to further the anime industry in Germany by sharing our experience,” said Mathias Nowoczin, managing director of AV Visionen, in a statement. “With this relationship, we will be able to offer even more anime to our fans. Our brands KAZÉ Anime, KAZÉ Manga and Anime on Demand will be able to expand our recognized position as a German anime publisher through the varied and high-quality portfolio.”
“Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture, and we are committed to this growing category. This transaction between Crunchyroll and VIZ Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, in a statement. “Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”