Netflix is trying to become a dominant presence in the anime streaming space, but WarnerMedia, owned by AT&T, is leveraging its anime streaming service Crunchyroll to help subscribers switch to HBO Max.
HBO Max subscribers will be able to stream 17 different animated series currently available on Crunchyroll, including Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Director’s Cut), and Keep your hands away from Eizouken. Crunchyroll will be hosting new anime content for HBO Max subscribers every three months, according to WarnerMedia, with popular series Hunter x hunter and Death threat come to HBO Max later this year. Some titles, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, also stream on Netflix. Although HBO Max is not the exclusive house – the shows will take place on both HBO Max and Crunchyroll at the same time – subscribers will have more access to popular anime.
Although it is only a handful of titles compared to the more than 1000 series on Crunchyroll, the hope is to “present the anime to a wider audience who appreciate the fascinating stories told through this medium dynamic, ”says Crunchyroll CEO Joanne Waage.
It’s a win-win for the two streaming platforms, both owned by AT&T. If the general public subscribed to HBO Max develops an affinity for anime provided via Crunchyroll, they could potentially subscribe to the anime streaming service in addition to HBO. (Crunchyroll currently has over 2 million paid subscribers.) HBO Max can also boast an impressive animated offering at launch, with a consistent funnel for future content. WarnerMedia will also use HBO Max as an exclusive residence for Studio Ghibli films in the United States, while Netflix has secured international rights to popular and critically acclaimed films.
Netflix and Amazon have spent millions of dollars investing in developing new original animated series and licensing the best titles. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in 2015 that anime is a key area in which Netflix wants to invest. In 2017, Netflix content director Ted Sarandos told investors that the streamer had “more than 30 original anime projects in different states of production these days.” This number has probably increased since then. Sony spent $ 143 million in 2017 to acquire a 95% stake in the distributor Funimation, which manages the streaming service FunimationNow. WarnerMedia’s new CEO Jason Kilar understands the importance of anime as part of a larger streaming strategy – anime would have been one of the top performing genres in Hulu when Kilar was CEO, according to Information.
“This collaboration from the WarnerMedia family is bringing together an incredible collection of content with a passionate fandom and HBO Max is tottemo ureshii to expand the reach of this inventive talent, “said Kevin Reilly, content director of HBO Max in a press release, using a popular Japanese expression to display joy and enthusiasm.
HBO Max’s ability to use Crunchyroll content is a perfect example of how HBO Max will borrow from all of WarnerMedia’s assets in an attempt to secure subscribers. The service will also broadcast current and former HBO series (widely regarded as the heart of the streaming service), Warner Bros. movies, original TBS and TNT series and a few CW shows. WarnerMedia, like ViacomCBS (CBS All Access) and NBCUniversal (Peacock), has one of the largest collections of titles that HBO Max can borrow to use for its own service.
Other animated series that will be available on HBO Max and that are currently on Crunchyroll, include Rurouni Kenshin, KONOSUBA – Blessing of God on this wonderful world!, Bungo Stray Dogs, Berserk, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Kill the kill, Your lie in April, Deleted, Kiznaiver, Schwarzes Marken, 91 days, Sister New Devil’s Testament, and Rokka – Braves of the six flowers.
HBO Max will launch on May 27 for $ 14.99 a month. WarnerMedia currently offers inbound customers and select current HBO Now subscribers one year of HBO Max for just $ 11.99 per month.