Crunchyroll has become a major investor in Viz Media Europe Group, one of Europe’s best-established licensors and distributors of Japanese animation.
It follows the signing of an agreement to bring together Crunchyroll (itself a subsidiary of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia company) and its global platform with Viz Media’s wide network of partners, distributors and licensees.
The Hitotsubashi Group will retain its minority stake in the company. Closing of the transaction will occur once closing conditions have been satisfied.
Founded in 2006 as a simple anime-sharing platform, Crunchyroll has grown to amass a community of more than 50 million registered users through a variety of 360-degree content experiences that include streaming video, events (participating at some 180 events across 18 countries), consumer products (selling anime products through over 100 merchandising partners), games, and Manga.
Meanwhile, Viz Media Europe Group, comprised of Viz Media Europe, AV Visionen, Anime Versand, and Viz Media Switzerland, is an established licensor and distributor of Japanese content for the EMEA region. It handles content distribution, theatrical distribution, consumer products, Manga publishing, home entertainment, and streaming video.
“Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe Group will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote our respective licensed and original content,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. “We look forward to learning from and collaborating with our new colleagues in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, so we can continuously create the most engaging experiences for anime and manga communities around the world.”
Nobuhiro Oga, senior managing director of Shogakukan, added: “Japanese manga and anime are now established as a unique culture throughout the world. Through Viz Media Europe, Shogakukan, Shueisha, and ShoPro, we strive to apply our collective expertise and experience to share and promote Japanese manga and anime throughout Europe.
“The growth of the manga and anime market in Europe has been in thanks to the love and support given to Japanese content from our partners throughout Europe. Together with Crunchyroll, we intend to introduce even more of our works and better service to our European fans. We look forward to working together with our respected partners, to provide greater support to our growing audience.”