Sony Eyes Growth from Crunchyroll Streaming Service as Anime Gains Global Traction

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony is betting on its anime streaming platform Crunchyroll to drive growth in the coming years, said Tony Vinciquerra, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), during a strategy briefing on Thursday, highlighting the company’s ambitions beyond its traditional movie and entertainment offerings.

“While Sony is renowned for its movies, games, and music businesses, our anime division, including Aniplex and Crunchyroll with its 13 million global subscribers, is poised to become the primary growth engine for SPE,” Vinciquerra stated.

The rise of internet streaming has significantly broadened the audience for anime, with major global entertainment firms increasingly investing in popular anime franchises. Sony, through its Aniplex subsidiary and Crunchyroll, is leveraging this trend.

The anime market is forecasted to double in size to $60 billion by 2030, with Crunchyroll planning expansions in Southeast Asia and India via Amazon Channels, which facilitates access to streaming services through Amazon’s platform.

Sony, lacking a broad general entertainment streaming service, believes its role as an independent content provider is advantageous amidst industry technological disruptions.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported Sony’s interest in acquiring assets from U.S. media company Paramount Global, a move that could further enrich Sony’s portfolio of franchises.

“Our strategy revolves around expanding our intellectual property, product offerings, and content library,” Vinciquerra remarked regarding the company’s investment approach.

In January, Sony abandoned plans for a merger with India’s Zee Entertainment, valued at $10 billion, opting to explore alternative opportunities, as Vinciquerra indicated without elaborating on specifics.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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