All anime, all the time: Crunchyroll, the Sony-owned anime service, announced a new 24-hour free, ad-supported channel in the U.S. to promote the Japanese animation format — and try to win a few new fans for its core offerings.
The first services to carry Crunchyroll’s free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel are LG Channels, the Roku Channel and Vizio WatchFree+, launching on Oct. 11. Amazon’s Freevee is slated to launch the channel on Oct. 17. The channel is a joint collaboration between Crunchyroll and corporate cousin Game Show Network (GSN), which is part of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The Crunchyroll channel will feature a lineup of older shows, dubbed in English — while new and premium anime content will remain on Crunchyroll’s subscription and ad-supported VOD services. Series available on the FAST channel at launch include “Horimiya,” “Ranking of Kings,” “Moriarty the Patriot,” “Psycho-Pass,” “Arifureta,” “Sugar Apple Fairy Tale,” “To Your Eternity” and “Code Geass.” Crunchyroll said it plans to introduce other promotional, genre-based and themed programming blocks “for viewers to sample the wide range of anime being created from Japan.”
After merging with rival streamer Funimation last year, Crunchyroll has touted more than 10 million paying subscribers. It’s hoping the new FAST move will grow those ranks.
The Crunchyroll channel is “a gateway to the world of anime where we will guide viewers to discover new worlds, new stories and new characters,” Rahul Purini, president of Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “And thanks to our distribution partners at launch, millions of fans have easy access to the medium that is taking the world by storm.”
Tim Carry, GSN’s EVP of distribution, added, “GSN is thrilled by the massive response from our platform partners for this channel, which is a testament to Crunchyroll’s brand and library. We are grateful to bring this channel to market.”
Crunchyroll is an independently operated joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. Sony bought Crunchyroll for $1.18 billion in cash from AT&T in 2021 and last year merged Crunchyroll with anime streaming service Funimation (which Sony had acquired in 2019).