It would seem that waves have been made within the western anime world and rather large ones at that as Sony Pictures Television Networks are set to acquire a substantial majority stake in Funimation.
The rumour mill it seems has been turning some time with this possibility but, given regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions, Sony Pictures Television Networks will own a majority stake in Funimation while Gen Fukunaga, Funimation CEO, will remain CEO and retain a minority stake.
“Around the world, Sony’s networks have been major players in the anime space for nearly two decades, and in more recent years we have rapidly increased our networks’ over-the-top and digital offerings to consumers. With the acquisition of Funimation, the combined IP of ANIMAX, KIDS STATION and Funimation allows us to deliver the best anime to fans across all screens and platforms,” said Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television.
Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga added, “With Funimation’s long-established leadership position in anime and Sony’s direct access to the creative pipeline in Japan, it will be a great partnership to take Funimation to the next level.”
While we wouldn’t expect any immediate changes to how Funimation operates and provides services to its large customer base how will this affects the anime landscape going forward. Important questions to ask from our perspective are, of course, how will this affect the current partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll. Will we see a change in pricing structure more akin to that of Aniplex of America another Sony owned property? Time will indeed tell with regards to what is to come from this deal.
More details can be found in the official Sony Pictures Television Networks press release at https://variety.com/2017/digital/news/sony-pictures-tv-funimation-acquisition-1202511492/