Chernin buys anime site Crunchyroll to expand online video assets

Mon Dec 2, 2013 5:04pm EST

Peter Chernin, CEO of The Chernin Group, arrives for lunch at the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley, Idaho Resort July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Peter Chernin, CEO of The Chernin Group, arrives for lunch at the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley, Idaho Resort July 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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(Reuters) - The Chernin Group, former News Corp president Peter Chernin's holding company, said on Monday it had acquired majority control of Japanese anime streaming service Crunchyroll, expanding holdings that include stakes in online video company Fullscreen and mobile entertainment network Scopely.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Crunchyroll has a free, ad-supported service and a subscription service that the Cherin group says has subscribers in more than 160 countries. The company delivers content from Japanese studios and broadcasters to viewers outside of Japan on desktops, mobile phones and other devices.

No price was announced for the acquisition, but a person with knowledge of the transaction said it was close to $100 million. The Chernin Group said it will maintain majority control although Crunchyroll management and existing investor TV Tokyo will maintain a "significant" stake.

"Our plan is to continue to grow the anime vertical as well as launch new channels in different genres," Chernin said in the statement.

The Chernin Group, which has financial backing from Providence Equity Partners and Qatar Holdings, produces films and TV shows. Earlier this year, it made a bid to buy the Hulu online video site, owned by Twenty-First Century Fox, the Walt Disney Co, and Comcast.

(Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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Comments (1)
Adrian_Kurr wrote:
Unfortunately, history has shown that the company that takes control can not resist exerting that control. In spite of the fact that CrunchyRoll has been successful by doing what they have been doing, and regardless of any claims to the contrary, I expect the same situation to play out here.

I have been buying yearly All-Access subs at CR since 2008/2009. This will be the first time in several years that I have not prepaid additional years up front.

Actions speak louder than words. They have one year to SHOW that they’re not going to ruin the website, that they’re not going to add unrelated content, that they’re not going to smear the site with additional advertisements, and so forth.

CrunchyRoll has been my favorite entertainment / multimedia site for years. This could be a very unfortunate turn. I’ve tried the competition over the years, so I sure hope not.

Dec 09, 2013 1:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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