On April 25, 2022 Google and Crunchyroll, the world’s leading anime and manga streaming service, announced a new, multi-year strategic partnership to accelerate and support Crunchyroll’s global scale anime-related ambitions. This announcement came at the same time Google unveiled improved CDN tools for streaming media, which apparently Crunchyroll will be incorporating.
This alliance will build on Google’s existing partnership and collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment across Android, Google TV, Android TV OS, YouTube, Google advertising solutions and Google Cloud.
Crunchyroll is currently owned by Sony (operated independently as a joint venture of subsidiaries Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex). Crunchyroll’s aim is to increase its direct-to-consumer business globally and with Google strengthening their audience’s experience overall.
Crunchyroll CFO Travis Page commented, “Crunchyroll is committed to aligning with technology partners who understand the DNA of our fans – how they engage, how they enjoy and how they live and breathe anime. Having a partner like Google, who expertly knows how to leverage technology to enhance user interaction, will be critical to giving our fans the purpose-built experience they demand. Google brings expertise to the table that immediately helps us achieve those ambitions.”
Anime sustained pandemic-era viewership in 2021
In the last few years, viewership of anime has reached record heights, making Crunchyroll the go-to streaming service for anime otaku. The animes Dragon Ball, My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, and Attack on Titan are now broadly recognized with over 40,000 episodes and millions of fans in more than 200 countries and territories.
Google Inc and Google Cloud stated in the official press release that their partnership with Crunchyroll would focus on the following:
- Improve Viewer Experience with Content Personalization: Google Cloud will enhance Crunchyroll’s ability to engage and retain audiences, building on its established technology and privacy-first content personalization powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies.
- Inform Product and Content Innovation: Utilizing Google Cloud’s expertise in data management and analytics, AI and ML, Crunchyroll will be able to better use customer and user insights to inform the development of new fan experiences and future development.
- Reach Audiences Around the World: Crunchyroll will be able to achieve broad distribution of its content and subscription services with Google Play across Android, Google TV and other Android TV OS devices.
- Connect Fans to Content and Fuel Growth: Through Google advertising solutions, Crunchyroll will continue to be able to offer a unique ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) experience for fans, offering more than 1,000 episodes for fans to sample. This will drive a broader reach, bring together key audiences, and grow its platform with a seamless ad experience.
A wind of change is blowing for the anime community
Thomas Overton, Crunchyroll’s Chief Technology Officer commented, “As our legacy anime businesses come together under the Crunchyroll brand worldwide, this partnership helps optimize our service as we incorporate some of Google’s best-in-class solutions to diversify our platform capabilities and enrich the fan experience.”
Thomas Kurian, the CEO of Google Cloud went on to comment, “Crunchyroll continues to meet the growing demand for anime by delivering transformative and entertaining streaming experiences to audiences around the globe. We are thrilled to partner with Crunchyroll across Google Cloud, Android, and Google advertising solutions to help the company deepen relationships with subscribers and drive efficiencies across its operations.”
Crunchyroll connects otaku from across 200+ countries with the anime and manga content they love. Otaku can watch ad-supported anime free (this is where Google advertising tools will come into play) or via a subscription to access premium content such as simulcasts – top anime episodes available immediately after Japanese broadcast.