To say that this has been a week of change, loss, and upheaval at WarnerMedia would be a dramatic understatement. With its big product push DC FanDome only ten days away, DC Comics, DC Universe, and other areas of the multimedia company saw firings and restructurings as the company looked to reduce its debt load and shift the majority of its resources to streaming service HBO Max. To that end, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that WarnerMedia head Jason Kilar is looking to sell off anime streaming service Crunchyroll as part of a move to sell off any assets not core to the company's new business goals. "It became pretty clear that we needed to have one content organization to make it easier for us to make decisions to greenlight the best possible stories that we can then take increasingly direct to consumers," said Kilar in a recent THR interview.
While it's no surprise that Crunchyroll would have suitors vying to bring the service under their umbrella, one of the names rumored to be interested elevates this conversation's "uh-oh" levels to a ten: Sony, the current owner of anime company Funimation. One reportedly pricey obstacle to a deal with Sony is Sony's offer, which is reportedly less than the $1.5 billion price that WarnerMedia wants for the service (and its 3+ million subscribers). To say that the anime landscape would change dramatically with a Funimation/Crunchyroll merger or cooperation is far from an understatement, and would definitely be seen as a direct challenge to Netflix as it looks to increase its anime library as well as its original content. Currently, Crunchyroll has a programming "tile" on HBO Max, with a small, curated library of anime content while also maintaining itself as a standalone subscription service. At the time of reporting, both WarnerMedia division Otter Media and Sony declined to comment.