March 05, 2022

The Fun is over

A little over a year ago, Sony acquired Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia (a division of AT&T) for $1.175 billion. Sony already owned Funimation, so it was only a matter of time before they merged the two streaming services together.

That time has come, and Funimation content is moving to Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll has the most subscribers in the most markets and the largest catalog in the business, so it made sense to go forward under the Crunchyroll brand.

As of March 1, 2022, existing and new Crunchyroll subscribers will have access to library and simulcast content previously exclusive to Funimation. All new series from the upcoming Spring 2022 season will stream exclusively on Crunchyroll; Funimation will only continue to add new episodes of current series.

So Funimation is grandfathering existing series that are still adding episodes. Once they are finished, Funimation will be too, with its home video operations "eventually moving to the Crunchyroll brand internationally."

This is a welcome development. Having dropped Netflix (temporarily), I was thinking of subscribing to Funimation for a month or two to pick up a few exclusives. A quick check shows about half of them have already moved over.

Though given the size of the Funimation catalog, and that many titles will have to be re-encoded to convert the subtitles, the move may take several months. Plus Funimation is still adding contractual content through the rest of March.

Like Netflix, Crunchyroll uses embedded subtitles, which are vastly superior (aesthetically) to the closed captions that Funimation used and HIDIVE still does (though some people do prefer closed captions along with the dub).

Of course, the other big question is how this will affect the price of the service. Now may be the best time to lock in a Crunchyroll subscription. For the time being, a yearly subscription is a little less than half the cost of Netflix (HD).

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