According to the Australian Financial Review newspaper, Madman Media has handed over their anime branch to Sony Entertainment for $35 million AUD (approx. $25 million USD). Currently, it is believed that the anime unit was sold specifically to Aniplex in what was apparently a favourable move for Madman.
This is pretty big news for the anime fans of Australia and New Zealand, and potentially for those in the rest of the world too. This is a continued trend of the Japanese industry investing in overseas streaming, following Sony Pictures Television Networks majority stake acquisition of Funimation and TV Tokyo’s previous investments in Crunchyroll. It also bears mentioning that Aniplex themselves dipped their toes in the water with Madman in February 2018 which seems to have gone well.
Madman’s anime branch is one of the biggest publishers of anime in Australia and New Zealand and is responsible for the streaming service AnimeLab as well as MadFest which is a major anime convention in Australia which now runs four times a year. For that reason alone, they are perhaps the most influential source of anime related content in the region. Hopefully, this change in ownership will end up having an effect on these aspects as well, maybe building more clout for the conventions to attract higher profile guests.
It will be interesting to see if Funimation and AnimeLab end up “partnering” in any capacity considering they are both owned by subsidiaries of Sony now, but given their distance in regards of the Sony’s corporate it’s hard to tell (both falling under different divisions at the company).
As an Australian bloke myself, I think it’s pretty cool that Aniplex (given their very direct involvement in the industry) have their eyes on the Australian and New Zealand market specifically. In a strange way, it feels almost like some more recognition for the community here which is always nifty.