Following the launch of its HBO Max streaming service, WarnerMedia is looking to sell off its anime-focused Crunchyroll, and it appears as though Sony, which already owns Funimation, is one of the parties interested in taking it off their hands. In July, Crunchyroll notched three million subscribers, equal to the number that the more expansive HBO Max has acquired since its launch in May.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006. The service already has a working relationship with Sony’s Funimation, which has released anime DVDs from Crunchyroll’s library. Currently, Crunchyroll offers over 900 anime titles, 200 East Asian dramas, and 50 manga titles.
WarnerMedia was bought out by AT&T in 2018, and the parent company is looking to unload some debt, and reportedly, WarnerMedia’s new head, Jason Kilar is looking to sell off assets that aren’t part of the company’s core entertainment business. Also allegedly hitting the market will be gaming division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
But 600 employees are expected to be laid off total. On Friday, he fired executives Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, and created a new division, headed by Ann Sarnoff, which will encompass its studios and networks. Just yesterday, massive layoffs were handed out through the company’s DC Comics and DC Universe streaming service, and collectible manufacturer DC Direct was shut down completely. (DC Universe will likely go to a digital comics-only service, as its original shows are migrating to HBO Max and The CW.)
Last week, Kilar told The Hollywood Reporter:
“It became pretty clear that we needed to have one content organization to make it easier for us to make decisions to greenlight the best possible stories that we can then take increasingly direct to consumers.”
It was stressed that these cuts and sales are not the result of HBO Max’s launch, but a “refocusing” of the company.
Are you a subscriber to Crunchyroll? What do you think of it possibly going to a new owner, like Sony?