Funimation's anime content is moving to Crunchyroll
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Fans of Japanese animation are closer to one-stop watching this week.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
The anime streaming service Funimation announced that more than 1,600 hours of its exclusive content will start rolling over to sister site Crunchyroll. So what does that all mean? Instead of subscribing to two one-time competitors, anime fans will only need one.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DRAGON BALL Z")
SEAN SCHEMMEL AND CHRISTOPHER SABAT: (As Goku and Vegeta) Fusion, ha.
MARTINEZ: Sony's billion-dollar purchase of Crunchyroll last year brought the two services together under one roof. And the pipeline of brand-new shows coming to Funimation will start drying up next month. So their subscribers are being nudged to switch to the slightly pricier alternative.
FADEL: For now, Crunchyroll says subscription prices, ranging from eight to $15 a month, won't increase, even with its beefed-up buffet of content. And while this means less competition for anime, it could actually make Crunchyroll a stronger competitor against more mainstream services, like Hulu and Netflix.
MARTINEZ: Christopher Macdonald, the publisher and CEO of Anime News Network, says Crunchyroll also will have a stronger hand when it comes to bidding on the licensing rights of new anime.
CHRISTOPHER MACDONALD: When you look at the niche market, the shows that Netflix isn't interested in, then it really, really is now being solidified on Crunchyroll. And they are, for the majority of shows, becoming an 800-pound gorilla. It will become extremely hard to compete against them.
MARTINEZ: And that may even stir up some anime production companies.
MACDONALD: What Japanese licensors and producers can get upfront for their shows might diminish slightly. And they might not be comfortable with all of this power being centralized within one company.
FADEL: All of which brings to mind some classic anime themes, like former rivals teaming up to take on the bigger adversaries and reminding us that nothing beats the power of friendship.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Friendship is what gives me power, it's what fires me up (screaming).
(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)
MARTINEZ: Yeah, until that friend wants to borrow some money. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.