Anime subscription site Crunchyroll is teaming up with friends: Crunchyroll corporate parent Ellation officially announced a new video subscription service called VRV at E3 in Los Angeles Tuesday that squarely aims for hardcore fans of content you won’t usually find on TV.
VRV, which won’t launch until later this year, combines Crunchyroll with Rooster Teeth, NBC’s Seeso comedy service, Nerdist Alpha, Geek & Sundry Alpha as well as Cartoon Hangover. Variety first broke the news of VRV’s impending announcement last week.
The new service will offer consumers the ability to subscribe to bundles of content, or pick a la carte channels. Each channel will also offer some ad-supported content, and be available on mobile as well as connected TV platforms including Microsoft’s Xbox One. Ellation plans to announce additional VRV channels, as well as supported devices, in the coming months.
Some of the shows that will be available on VRV include “Bravest Warriors,” “Day 5,” “RWBY” and “Crunch Time.” Never heard of any of them? Then you’re likely not part of “the fandom,” as Ellation is calling VRV’s target audience. The San Francisco-based company is looking to target video gamers with an interest in anime, offbeat comedy, fantasy and animation. Sources told Variety that Ellation is also looking to add niche action sports to the bundle.
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The Crunchyroll team has been working on this vision of building a multichannel service based on niche content for some time. The startup initially planned for a Second.tv branding, and was initially courting content suppliers in other Asian markets, including China, Vietnam and Korea.
Crunchyroll changed course after being acquired by the Chernin Group at the end of 2013. In early 2014, Crunchyroll became part of Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group, where it now resides under the Ellation umbrella for subscription video services.
AT&T has so far not played a very active role in the joint venture, but one could imagine this to change once VRV launches. AT&T’s SVP of strategy and business development Tony Goncalves recently told Variety that Otter Media is “extremely important” to AT&T, and suggested that the telco may promote Otter’s services more aggressively in the future, either through bundled apps or more targeted promotions to AT&T’s customer base.