Crunchyroll, a streaming, publishing, and distribution platform offering global online access to anime, manga, and other Asian pop content, has acquired a majority interest in Viz Media Europe Group, a key distributor of manga and anime in Europe.
Crunchyroll, which is a part of Warner Media’s Otter Media group, has more than 50 million registered users around the globe, including upwards of 2 million paying subscribers. Crunchyroll offers consumers access to more than 1,000 licensed anime series as well as streaming access to manga and other kinds of Asian pop content.
The acquisition will give Crunchyroll a majority stake in VME, while the Hitotsubashi Group, previously VME’s majority owner, will retain a minority stake in VME. Although it is a separate company, Viz Media LLC, an American manga publisher and anime distributor based in San Francisco, is also a sister company to Viz Media Europe. Viz Media is also owned by the Hitotsubashi Group, which is comprised of three Japanese media companies: Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd.
“Over the last decade, our team has shown a deep understanding of Japanese pop culture and adaptation within local markets, and I believe this relationship will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate,” Viz Media Europe Group CEO Kazuyoshi Takeuchi said in a statement.
Crunchyroll’s acquisition will bring together a global network of media partners—including streaming media, TV, consumer merchandising, theatrical distribution, and more—that distribute such popular manga and anime properties as Dragon Ball, Death Note, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, One Punch Man, Bleach, and My Hero Academia.
"Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture,” Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves said in a statement. “This transaction between Crunchyroll and Viz Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor.Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”