Is There A Future For Anime On Hulu & Disney+?
Over the past few years, Disney has been acquiring the distribution rights to many Japanese anime series, including “Tokyo Revengers” and “Bleach: A Thousand Year Blood-War”. In the United States, Hulu has a vast selection of Anime, with titles like “Naruto,” “Attack on Titan”, and “My Hero Academia”.
And some of these newer shows are also released on Disney+ around the world, with some countries, such as Japan, having a much larger library of anime content, to appeal to the local market. Only last November, Disney expanded a deal with Japanese publishing company Kodansha to co-produce new content, plus they worked with Studio Ghibli on a “Grogu” short and have a second season of “Star Wars: Visions” coming out on Star Wars Day in May.
While Disney has been trying to cater to Anime audiences, Sony has been making massive moves to dominate the genre, with the upcoming merger of Funimation and Crunchyroll. The niche streaming service has 10,000+ episodes of anime and continues to dominate.
But this also will cause more problems for Hulu, as Sony is expected to bring many of its anime titles back in house, to serve its own streaming service. Hulu has over 300 anime titles currently available as part of a multiyear deal that was signed five years ago.
With Disney looking to also cut costs, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this area also gets a trim, as Disney CEO Bob Iger wants to create less general entertainment and more content based around established brands and franchises. He’s also spoken out about Disney having an imbalance with its international originals and wanting to make better use of global releases.
While Hulu is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, there is also a huge cloud hanging over the future of Hulu, following Bob Iger’s comments about everything being on the table with regard to selling Hulu and bringing in Goldman Sachs to investigate a sale.
Recently, Justin Sevakis, the founder and editor-at-large of Anime News Network, explained to The Wrap, why Sony is dominating the anime market:
“Between Sony Pictures and Sony Japan Music, they control Aniplex, which is one of the biggest producers of anime. They control Crunchyroll, obviously the biggest world distributor of anime. They control Funimation, which was the No. 2 streamer of anime and also the biggest dubbing production facility of anime. Then, with Right Stuf, they have the biggest retailer of anime and anime merch. That is a very hard machine to beat.”
Having a selection of anime does make sense for Disney+ and Hulu, especially to appeal to subscribers in Japan, but it’s unlikely that it will be able to compete with Crunchyroll, especially if they start licensing out less content to maintain their own dominance, though they might also want to license out some items non-exclusively to reach a larger audience, but with the big cloud hanging over Hulu’s future, it’s very tricky to see what’s going to happen with Hulu’s anime content. And with less money being spent on original and licensed programming, plus the changes with Hulu and Sony, things are much more complicated then it was in 2018!. But hopefully, Disney doesn’t completely pull back its anime plans, but it does look less promising.
What do you think will happen to the anime content on Hulu? Let us know on social media!