September 24, 2019
Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), have announced the combination of multiple Sony-owned anime streaming businesses.
France’s Wakanim, Australia’s Madman Anime Group and U.S.-based Funimation will form a joint venture to be owned by Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television. The venture will be led by Funimation GM Colin Decker.
Under this structure, Funimation will acquire and distribute anime content from Japan across the global portfolio of brands, “each with deep regional expertise in serving fans,” according to a Sony release.
“Now with a larger global footprint, the combined businesses will expand their 360 degree, multi-channel approach to fan engagement that spans home entertainment, theatrical distribution, live events and merchandising,” the release stated.
As the first project of this union, Funimation will be the exclusive streaming home of the latest installment in the “Fate/Grand Order” series for one month. Starting Oct. 5, “Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia” will be simulcast in the United States on FunimationNow and will launch on Wakanim and Madman Anime Group’s AnimeLab in their respective territories. “Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia” is the first TV animation series of the “Fate/Grand Order” mobile game, with more than 41 million downloads worldwide.
“Anime is a growing area of importance for us at Sony Pictures Television,” said Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins in a statement. “By combining these businesses, we immediately increase our global reach and expertise in SVOD, theatrical, home video, merchandising, events and more. Along with our world-class marketing capabilities, we’re well-positioned to deliver unprecedented results for our partners and the best possible anime experience for the fans.”
“Through Sony group’s integration of anime related streaming services, we are thrilled that numerous Japanese anime titles will be distributed globally through its digital platforms,” said Aniplex president Atsuhiro Iwakami in a statement. “We hope our partnership will contribute to the further development and expansion of the Japanese anime industry.”
“For 25 years, Funimation has served creators, publishers, and fans,” added Decker in a statement. “By merging, we can extend our support of the industry for another 25 years with some of the most respected talent, and brands, in global anime.”