×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll to Acquire Majority Stake in Anime Distributor Viz Media Europe Group

Crunchyroll, the anime streaming-service division of WarnerMedia’s Otter Media, entered into a pact to become the majority owner of Viz Media Europe Group, the top anime distributor and manga publisher in Europe.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The agreement will bring together Crunchyroll’s global streaming platform with Viz Media Europe Group’s network of partners, distributors and licensees. Japanese publishing and media company the Hitotsubashi Group — which comprises Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions — will retain a minority stake in Viz Media Europe. Closing of the deal is contingent on certain conditions including required antitrust clearances.

Currently, about 60% of Crunchyroll’s revenue comes from North America. It’s looking to shift that to 50-50 between North America and the rest of the world in the next couple of years.

“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,” Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves said in a statement. “Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”

Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, CEO of Viz Media Europe Group, added that the deal with Crunchyroll “will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate.”

Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll became a wholly owned part of Otter Media — now housed within AT&T’s WarnerMedia Entertainment group — after the telco bought out the Chernin Group’s majority stake in Otter last year.

Popular on Variety

Today, Crunchyroll has over 50 million registered users, including 2 million paying subscribers who have access to more than 1,000 licensed anime titles translated into eight languages. Original content, mostly from Crunchyroll’s studios in Tokyo and Los Angeles, will be joining the subscription VOD service soon. Crunchyroll also produces 180 events in 18 countries each year and sells consumer products, publishes games and provides a manga app with new titles updated regularly.

Viz Media Europe Group is comprised of Viz Media Europe (VME), AV Visionen, Anime Versand and Viz Media Switzerland (VMS), The company supplies content to TV broadcasters and VOD platforms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Viz Media Europe Group has distributed more than 40,000 hours of animation in over 100 countries. It launched the Anime on Demand (AoD) service in 2007 as the first legal streaming platform in Germany for anime and operates Anime Digital Network (ADN), in partnership with Média-Participations, a French platform dedicated to anime.

In addition, Viz Media Europe Group provides theatrical distribution for anime films in Europe and event screenings (Kazé Anime Night) in German-speaking territories. In addition, Viz Media Europe manages consumer product licensing, brand management and retail development for all categories in EMEA, and has manga publishing and DVD home entertainment distribution.

Nobuhiro Oga, senior managing director of Shogakukan, said that with the deal between Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe, “we intend to introduce even more of our works and better service to our European fans.”

More Digital

  • Billy Magnussen Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Spinoff With Billy Magnussen's Character in the Works for Disney Plus

    Disney is developing a spinoff of its live-action “Aladdin” with Billy Magnussen reprising his Prince Anders character. The unnamed project is in early development for the studio’s recently launched Disney Plus streaming service. Disney has hired Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme to write a script centered on the haughty Prince Anders, one of Princess Jasmine’s [...]

  • Bernie Sanders Trump win

    Bernie Sanders Vows to Break Up Comcast, Verizon & AT&T: 'Their Greed Must End'

    Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled plans to launch publicly-funded broadband networks and break up big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T Thursday. “Their greed must end,” the Sanders campaign wrote in its high-speed internet policy proposal. The campaign argued that high-speed internet access should be treated as a public utility, [...]

  • The Office

    Streaming Wars Heat Up Rerun Market as New Services Stock Up on Hits

    In a year in which more than 500 scripted series are on the air and new streaming services seem to debut nearly monthly, some of the biggest money being thrown around for content has gone to a handful of old TV shows, the kind that for years have hummed along evening television without much fuss. [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]

  • NOBODY’S LOOKING

    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content