The streaming service will become Funimation on June 17
Australian anime streaming service AnimeLab announced today that it'll be rebranding as FunimationANZ starting June 17. AnimeLab has historically been a part of Madman Anime Group, which is led by the Global Funimation Group, servicing anime fans in Australia and New Zealand since it opened in 2014. The move is scheduled to be completed on June 17, with all the users of AnimeLab being moved over to Funimation's service.
???? A big g'day & kia ora to #FunimationANZ! ???? From next week, AnimeLab will begin to merge with Funimation, bringing more ways to stream your favourite anime content! Same Aussie team, new global family. Our world is yours… down under.— animelab (@AnimeLab) June 10, 2021
???? Details: https://t.co/6dOYfd4llH pic.twitter.com/t4rD0ZQob0
AnimeLab as part of Madman Entertainment's streaming efforts in 2014 to cater to fans locally in Australia and New Zealand. Together with Madman, the teams brought over anime films, created a massive online presence, and even started the Anime Festival (then known as Madman Anime Festival). Catching the attention of Japan's Aniplex, the Japanese company acquired a minority stake in Madman and AnimeLab in 2016 in the newly spun-out Madman Anime Group, eventually becoming the majority stakeholder in the spun-out company in 2019 and making it a subsidiary to the Japanese business.
Later in 2019, Madman Anime Group, Wakanim, and Funimation was consolidated under one roof in a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment (the United States owner of Funimation) and Sony Music Entertainment Japan (who owned Madman and Wakanim), with Funimation leading the newly formed Funimation Global Group. Due to the ownership of Funimation and Madman under the one enterprise, Funimation pulled its streaming service out of Australia in early 2020 to focus entirely on the AnimeLab platform, moving all the users and content to AnimeLab.
Now, it has been announced that AnimeLab will be officially rebranded as FunimationANZ, shutting down the AnimeLab service on June 17 and moving all of its users to Funimation's streaming platform. According to a support page on the AnimeLab website, the Madman branding will still exist as part of an online store and physical distribution hose for physical releases and theatrical releases.
In terms of changes, all users will be moved to the Funimation platforms, which is said to "bring you the best user experience on Funimation possible, including a brand-new app refresh" and that the teams are "working very closely together." The entire AnimeLab team will be staying on. Just like the Manga UK rebranding to Funimation UK and Ireland, AnimeLab's social media pages will eventually be rebranded to Funimation.
Here's what Tim Anderson, Senior Vice President of International for Funimation Global Group and co-founder of Madman Anime Group and AnimeLab, had to say about the rebranding, "AnimeLab was built from the ground up by a team of Australians. To be able to take what we have built and unify to be part of an expansive global growth brand like Funimation, it presents opportunities that we never dreamed possible. With the same great local team and access to a world-class service, it’s a win for fans locally.”
Another change will see AnimeLab now refer to anime seasons based on Japan's seasons, rather than the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere in line with Funimation globally. With this new change, even though Australia and New Zealand are about to head into winter, the next anime season will be described as the Summer 2021 anime season as opposed to the "July Simulcast Season."
In terms of anime content, AnimeLab and Funimation "are working to make sure that as many shows as possible are made available on Funimation as AnimeLab transitions over."
The move is expected to happen on June 17, with AnimeLab moving all users to Funimation, but still having the AnimeLab service available for a limited time before shutting completely. The AnimeLab blog will also be shut down and moved to Funimation.
Disclosure: The writer of this article worked for Madman Entertainment in 2015 in the social media team.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.