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According to the December 4, 2018 announcement, Hulu gets first refusal on rights to streaming and on-demand series from Funimation, with simultaneous day-and-date rights to co-launch English-subtitled and dubbed versions new shows debuting in Japan, including mega-blockbusters like The new partnership does not affect the current selection of Funimation shows on Hulu, which will continue to be available on the service.The move comes a year after Sony Pictures Television acquired the animation company for 3 million dollars, and several months after Funimation terminated its distribution agreement with streaming platform Crunchyroll.In this stage of the competition, the only clear winner is the audience.Update: December 6, 4 pm ET: Edited to clarify that Hulu's licensing arrangement with Funimation does not extend to Funimation's entire 600 title library.Good anime is costly and time-consuming to produce, and while its fan-base is demographically desirable and intense in its consumption habits, it remains small relative to mass audiences for live action programming.The dynamics of the emerging competition in the streaming space dictate that no player can afford to let a competitor get a leg up, much less corner the market as Netflix appeared to be doing.
Beginning in 2019, the deal will make Hulu the first destination for certain future anime titles in the U. "It will fuel the acquisition of new titles and provide both Funimation and Hulu subscribers with access to the very best in anime that Japan has to offer.""Funimation has been a longtime partner of ours, and together we have curated a full library of the most sought-after anime series from all over the world on Hulu," said Lisa Holme, Hulu's VP of Content Acquisition.
As streamers try to lock up users and lock out competitors, questions about return on investment thus take a back seat to fear of missing out on a crucial trend or segment.
For the time being, that means fans benefit from unprecedented availability of great new content, with dream projects getting greenlit left and right.
What do you think of the Hulu and Funimation partnership?
Last year it looked like Netflix had locked up an under-appreciated niche in the pop culture space, Japanese-style animation (anime), by bankrolling more than a dozen new series and original movies, as well as bringing hits from the Asian market to North American audiences.