Type of business
Subsidiary of Ellation
Type of site
Video streaming service
May 14, 2006; 14 years ago (2006-05-14)
Kun Gao (Co-founder and CEO)
Crunchyroll, Inc. is an American website and international online community focused on video streaming East Asian media including anime, manga, drama, music, electronic entertainment, and auto racing content. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates, Crunchyroll's distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to over twenty million online community members worldwide. Crunchyroll's majority shareholder is Otter Media, owned by AT&T and The Chernin Group.
Crunchyroll offers over 200 anime shows, more than 200 Asian dramas to Users, and 50 manga titles, although not all programming is available worldwide due to licensing restrictions. In the United States, Crunchyroll also will release select anime shows on home video through a partnership with Funimation. In February 2017, Crunchyroll passed one million paid subscribers.
Crunchyroll started in 2006 as a for-profit video upload and streaming site that specialized in hosting East Asian video content. Some of the content hosted on Crunchyroll included fansubbed versions of East Asian shows.
In 2008, Crunchyroll secured a capital investment of $4.05 million from the venture capital firm Venrock. The investment drew criticism from anime distributors and licensors Bandai Entertainment and Funimation as the site continued to allow users to upload illegal copies of licensed titles.
However, Crunchyroll eventually began securing legal distribution agreements with companies, including Gonzo, for an increasing number of titles. On January 8, 2009, after announcing a deal with TV Tokyo to host episodes of Naruto Shippuden, Crunchyroll stated that it was committed to removing all copyright-infringing material from its site and to hosting only content to which it had legitimate distribution rights.
In 2010, Crunchyroll announced its acquisition of the North American DVD rights to 5 Centimeters Per Second. This was the first DVD release licensed by Crunchyroll.
On October 30, 2013, Crunchyroll began digitally distributing 12 different manga titles from Kodansha – series such as Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail were part of the manga that were available initially – through Crunchyroll Manga.
On December 2, 2013, The Chernin Group, former News Corp. president Peter Chernin's holding company, announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in Crunchyroll. A person with knowledge of the transaction said the price for the acquisition was close to $100 million. The Chernin Group said that Crunchyroll management and existing investor TV Tokyo will maintain a "significant" stake in the company.
On April 22, 2014, AT&T and The Chernin Group announced the formation of a joint venture to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services. Both companies committed over $500 million in funding to the venture. The new company was named Otter Media and became the majority owner of Crunchyroll. On August 3, 2015, Variety reported that Otter Media will unveil Ellation, a new umbrella company for its subscription-based video services including Crunchyroll. Ellation's services included VRV, to debut in 2016 and described as targeting "geeks, gamers and lovers of comedy, fantasy and technology."
On October 22, 2015, the Anime News Network reported that Crunchyroll has 700,000 paying subscribers. In addition, the company announced that Crunchyroll and Sumitomo Corporation had created a joint venture to produce and invest in anime productions.
On April 11, 2016, Crunchyroll and Kadokawa Corporation announced the formation of a strategic alliance that gave Crunchyroll exclusive worldwide digital distribution rights (excluding Asia) for Kadokawa anime titles in the upcoming year. It also granted Crunchyroll the right to co-finance Kadokawa anime titles to be produced in the future.
On July 1, 2016, Crunchyroll announced plans to dub and release a number of series on home video.
On September 8, 2016, Crunchyroll announced a partnership with Funimation. Crunchyroll will stream selected Funimation titles, while Funimation will stream selected Crunchyroll titles, as well as their upcoming dubbed content. In addition, Funimation and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will act as distributors for Crunchyroll's home video catalog.
On February 9, 2017, Crunchyroll announced that it had reached one million paid subscribers.
Access to Crunchyroll is available on desktop browsers, and devices with Windows 10 mobile and PC, Windows Phone, iOS and Android that are connected to a Wi-Fi source. The service also includes two apps available for download. Some content requires a paid subscription service, while other content becomes free after a delay, usually a week after availability for the paid members. Some titles are subscription only, based on licensing agreements. Some titles available in the United States may not be available in other countries.
With paid memberships, streaming to select Windows Phone devices (with OS 7.5 or higher), Roku devices, Boxee, Wii U, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles, and Vizio, Google and Internet enabled televisions is available. In June 2013 the service became available through Apple TV.