Crunchyroll and KADOKAWA Enter into Strategic Alliance
SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO – Apr. 11, 2016 – Major anime streaming platform Crunchyroll, Inc. and major Japanese publisher KADOKAWA Corporation announced today the formation of a strategic alliance that will give Crunchyroll exclusive worldwide digital distribution rights (excluding Asia) for KADOKAWA anime titles in the upcoming year. The partnership will also involve a marketing collaboration between Crunchyroll and KADOKAWA’s publishing business in North America, among others.
Crunchyroll is the largest digital distribution platform in North America specializing in anime and other Japanese content, offering simultaneous subtitled distribution of Japanese anime and other content in 8 languages to its more than 20 million users worldwide (excluding Asia). The company’s majority investor is Otter Media, a venture formed with AT&T and The Chernin Group.
The strategic alliance between Crunchyroll and KADOKAWA involves, among other initiatives, (i) KADOKAWA’s licensing to Crunchyroll exclusive rights for the worldwide distribution (excluding Asia) for KADOKAWA’s slate of upcoming anime titles for the upcoming year, (ii) co-financing by Crunchyroll in KADOKAWA’s anime titles to be produced in the future and (iii) comprehensive marketing collaboration between KADOKAWA’s publishing business and Crunchyroll’s distribution platform business. Both parties regard the alliance as an important first step towards possibly further expanding relations in the future.
To bolster KADOKAWA’s planned formation of a publishing joint venture with the major U.S. publisher Hachette Book Group, specializing in manga and light novels (scheduled for May), Crunchyroll and KADOKAWA will seek to strengthen their relationship through a marketing campaign with the book publishing and anime distribution businesses, as well as joint efforts to expand relevant merchandising businesses, in order to maximize the growth potential of Japanese content in the North American market.
Masaki Matsubara, Representative Director and President of KADOKAWA said, “With their membership steadily increasing every year, Crunchyroll has established its firm position as the largest digital distribution platform specializing in Japanese content. Meanwhile, visitors at anime and pop culture events held in North America continue to rise year by year, demonstrating the increased popularity of Japanese content in the market. KADOKAWA considers the North American market as the most important international market for the company alongside the Greater China and Southeast Asian market where we have an existing business presence, and therefore look forward to our strategic alliance with Crunchyroll to secure an effective marketing collaboration system with our publishing business in the North American market, as well as contribute to the global growth of Japanese cool content as a whole, not limited to KADOKAWA.”
Kun Gao, GM of Crunchyroll, said, “The hunger for compelling anime, manga and light novel content is growing at an astounding rate throughout the world, and KADOKAWA has always been at the forefront of creating that content. We look forward to working closely with KADOKAWA to provide Crunchyroll fans with access to the anime, merchandise, and books that they have demonstrated they want time and again.“
Crunchyroll is the destination for the largest and latest lineup of anime, manga, merchandise, and exclusive content in the world. Crunchyroll brings hit shows to millions of viewers around the world and allows them to purchase related merchandise through its online store. Through its app on game consoles, set-top boxes, mobile devices and more, Crunchyroll delivers content from leading Asian media producers directly to viewers translated professionally in multiple languages. The service is available for free or through a premium offering that allows users to watch ad-free with access to simulcasts—top series available immediately after Japanese broadcast. Crunchyroll’s majority investor is Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group. Crunchyroll has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and is a member of the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA).
KADOKAWA Corporation is a leading diversified mega-content publisher in Japan with a wide range of businesses including publishing of books, e-books and magazines, production and distribution of anime and motion pictures, game development and sales, merchandising and digital media among others, centered on a media-mix strategy leveraging on its rich content IP portfolio. KADOKAWA is the subsidiary of Kadokawa DWANGO Corporation, which was formed in October 2014 intended to establish the world's leading platform for digital entertainment content.
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