EXCLUSIVE – The Sony subsidiary sells its shares of the platform to 330,000 subscribers, a specialist in Japanese animation, to Media Participations.
The Anime Digital Network (ADN) streaming service is changing its flag. The French platform specializing in Japanese cartoons was until today jointly owned by the publishing group Média Participations (Dupuis, Dargaud, La Martinière, Kana…) and by Crunchyroll, a branch of Sony. John Easum, President Europe and Middle East of Crunchyroll, announces to the Figaro se ‘disengageof the partnership. He sells his shares to the French group for an amount kept secret.
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This “amicable divorcecomes as Crunchyroll – acquired by Sony in 2021 for $1.15 billion – seeks to concentrate a manga and anime offering around its brand. For example, in March the group absorbed the content catalog of its subsidiary Wakanim, another French platform. “In June 2022, we announced that the publisher Kaze– which includes manga publishing and DVD/Blu-ray collections in France and Germany – would come under the Crunchyroll brand, recalls John Easum. By unifying our brands, we’re able to provide fans with the ultimate anime experience here at Crunchyroll.“.
Although competitors, Crunchyroll France, Anime Digital Network and Wakanim found themselves last year in the bosom of the Japanese Sony, which acquired their parent companies. These specialists are competing for a pool of 9 million French consumers who say they watch anime at least once a month according to an Ifop study. A cake that must also be shared with Netflix, Disney and Amazon, which buy a lot of animated content to attract teenagers and young adults.
Anime Digital Network still claims the place of French leader of the genre. The company now has 330,000 subscribers, for an annual turnover of 20 million euros. For its part Crunchyroll does not specify its number of subscribers in France. And he doesn’t explain either why he separates from the number one on the market…
In an email to subscribers, ADN warns that this divorce “will result in an evolution in the catalog with the disappearance of certain titles. But rest assured, new titles will arrive and our offer, even if it will change, will be the one you have always known with nuggets unearthed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.»
“Monopolies are not good for anyone»
To stand out from its competitors, ADN undertook a slight editorial shift a few months ago. The platform hosts very popular Japanese anime like My Hero Academia, One Piece Where Boruto. But recently, it has added to its catalog content adapted from Franco-Belgian comics like Titeuf or Tintin. In addition to Japanese works, the company wants to become a reference in the French and European animation sector, which is much less crowded than that of manga. To mark this openness strategy, the name of the platform will become Animation Digital Network.
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“We can do well with new exclusive content“, explains Julien Papelier, the deputy general manager of Media Participation. The synergy seems quite natural between the intellectual properties of Media Participations, the main comic book publishing group in France, and the catalog of Anime Digital Network. “Animate the content of Media Participations, yes, but only if that’s what the public is looking for. We don’t want to push licenses at all costs“says Julien Papelier.
The platforms that worked in good agreement until today will again compete for exclusivity. The little Frenchman remains confident against the American giant. “There will be competition, but we know how to defend ourselves. We know that monopolies are not good for anyone, neither for the market nor for the consumer.“, underlines the deputy general manager. Anime Digital Network hopes to retain most of its catalog.