In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, it was revealed by Crunchyroll co-founder Kun Gao that the San Francisco-based streaming platform had netted over $100 million for the Japanese anime industry through royalty payments over the last 10 years. That’s no small number by any means and is an exciting development for the continued growth of such an important industry.
It goes without saying that in most parts of the world, the name “Crunchyroll” is pretty much synonymous with “Anime.” It’s almost a little weird to picture it, but there’s an entire generation of people who, for the last 10 or so years, have consumed all their anime from Japan via the San Francisco-based streaming platform. From Naruto to Lupin the Third and even the more obscure likes of Ping Pong The Animation, they’re the go-to destination for an entire generation of anime fans.
With all that said, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the company. Back during the pre-2008 era of Crunchyroll, the website was mostly operated by user-uploaded content, much to the dismay of license holders in both North America and Japan. It wouldn’t be until 2009 that the company would strike a deal with TV Tokyo resulting in them clearing all previously unlicensed content and kickstarting their platform with the Naruto series. It was this level of trust that would ultimately level out into a massive return for an industry that likely considered Crunchyroll as enemy #1.
These days you’ll find the Crunchyroll name in the credits of a growing number of animated series, as well as on the committees for another handful of content.
“We have invested directly in more than 40 productions, including many shows that wouldn’t have been made,” said Gao. “We have an amazing relationship now with the creators. The animators want to learn about global audiences and what they want.”
With the recent influx of Western interest in the Japanese anime industry, it’s always exciting to see such positive numbers coming forward. In the past year, we ourselves sat down with Kun Gao and discussed the past, present, and future of the streaming giant. That full series can be found via the OTAQUEST YouTube channel, here.