Crunchyroll Boosts Revenue, Takes On FUNimation?

Topic started by gia on May 3, 2010. Last post by Papasan 4 years, 3 months ago.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13

I just got a press release from Crunchyroll this morning-- the usual cheerful congratulatory kinds of things, as the site celebrates significant growth in Q1 2010 (despite a decrease in the number of simulcasts). Here's a quick summary:

"Crunchyroll, Inc., reported today an over 40% compounded quarter on quarter revenue growth for the last five quarters. Q1 2010 revenue experienced over 250% growth, against the same quarter last year. Crunchyroll¹s revenue is driven by the 'freemium' business model made up of advertising-supported and subscription streaming as well as virtual goods, monetizing professionally produced content through direct relationships with Japanese licensors and broadcasters."

But it was another paragraph further down that really caught my eye:

"According to comScore data, during the six month period leading into March 2010 (since Sept 2009), Crunchyroll realized 25% growth in unique US visitors, while Funimation saw 7% growth in US visitors during the same period. According to Quantcast analytics, over the last 30 days, Crunchyroll reached 1,336,000 unique US visitors, while Funimation recorded 157,400 US visitors. Both destinations are measured directly by Quantcast."

At first glance it feels like a direct challenge, but the more I think about it, the more I realize...who else can Crunchyroll fairly compare itself to? VIZ's streaming anime are big names but a relatively small number of titles, and VizAnime launched only in December. FUNimation has a broader range of titles, like Crunchyroll. It's also important to note that they counted US visitors specifically-- since FUNi's videos are US-only, FUNi's global numbers versus the slightly more open-region Crunchyroll's would be meaningless.

Of course, this is still all PR from Crunchyroll directly, and it's hard to know exactly how accurate the picture is since they're trying to sell themselves to fans and perhaps even more so to investors with this release. Here's the PR in its entirety: 

 Crunchyroll "Virtual Goods"
 Crunchyroll "Virtual Goods"
What do you guys think? The general consensus on the insider grapevine is that simulcasting and streaming have yet to be monetized effectively enough to be entirely feasible, but it looks like Crunchyroll's made SOME progress in t direction-- though I wonder about the breakdown of sales between ad revenue, subscribers, and then the "virtual goods" mentioned in the release. Hm...
There's been a lot of talk about anime dying lately, so I thought I'd offer up another quick thought: I do not personally feel that downloaders are "killing" the industry per se. There are a lot of factors at play here, including a really tough economy. However, it will be the buyers that "save" anime in the end, regardless of who in the industry innovates or how.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,640 posts) See mini bio Level 25
I still far prefer I have never been impressed with the Cruncyhroll selection. They have very few series I'm interested in watching. They have Code Geass, but I've seen that. They have Fairy Tail, but I can't bring myself to really care about the anime version. I'm happy with the manga only.
A plus for FUNimation. On their official One Piece site. I noticed they filled in all the gaps they were retiring previously. That's great, if you missed out on some of the past episodes. I'm thinking about writing something about a couple One Piece episodes I don't think anyone should miss.
Though if any of these sites were to show the Japanese version of Detective Conan. That would earn my instant loyalty. Except VIZAnime. Their servers can crash for all I care.
Post by metalsnakezero (670 posts) See mini bio Level 16
Cruncyhroll does have a huge selection but only a few are good (Durarara, Heroman, Hayate the combat butler season 2). FUNimation just has more good shows than bad ones. And when did Viz do anime streams?
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@metalsnakezero: VIZ streams a few titles at its website-- Bleach, InuYasha: The Final Act, Kekkaishi, Nana, etc. (They also stream One Piece, although FUNi is the one doing all the work on that and they simulcast it as well.)
Post by Burntlettuce (155 posts) See mini bio Level 14
I also prefer Funimation, I do feel there selection is superior that of Crunchyroll's. That is not to say I don't like Crunchyroll, I do use it quite a bit(Heroman aand Durarara for instance) and it was the place where I first found Eureka 7. This is an interesting read none the less and I am glad to hear they are doing better, maybe they can expand and get a few more serious under there belt(Some older one's that is).
Post by ShadowKnight508 (5,319 posts) See mini bio Level 19
Have not tried Crunchyroll or the Funimation sites yet (I watch my anime on AnimeFreak's site [.tv]). I will have to check out the site to stream me some Bleach episodes.
Post by sickVisionz (4,262 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Good to see Crunchyroll doing well.  Personally I can't stand the  Funimation site.  The picture quality is way worse than Hulu and Crunchyroll and the only thing that works for me on a regular basis are the Google Ads.  There's nothing quite as awesome as having a stream die out right after a Google ad, refreshing the page and having to see another Google ad, then the player skips forward to where you stopped, which triggers another Google ad. 
If they'd speed up the FMA release to Hulu, even if it was still a week behind Funi's site, I'd never go to Funi's page.
Post by HSaabedra (136 posts) See mini bio Level 4
In terms of comparison, Crunchyroll features an entire social network built around serving up anime while Funimation's video portal does not feature such a component (yet). I'd be curious to see how the numbers shape up once Funimation replaces the video portal with its social network, where it will then compete directly with Crunchyroll.  
I also get the feeling that the Quantcast numbers for Funimation have to be wrong, because my site was ranked at 89,000 as far back as December and I only do news.  There's no way that Funimation is only getting 157K monthly US viewers, so someone's playing with the numbers (in comparison my tentpole site in gets 150K US viewers per month and is in the top 10,000 sites).
Post by Sigue (860 posts) See mini bio Level 8
I used Crunchyroll to watch a lot of Gintama and a few random things. It's hard to get away from the quality you're used to when you pirate a lot of anime, but it's not all that bad. I haven't had problems with either player lately, although some of Funi's videos are only available on Hulu (at least from their site) and that makes me cry. They're probably up on YouTube, though...
Post by Agent_Lost (1,124 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Yep, I use Crunchroll since it work here in Canada. Something that I can not says for Hulu, since it only work in the States.
Post by Kris (130 posts) See mini bio Level 7
How are they counting those numbers?  Directly from FUNi, or through Hulu?
Post by HSaabedra (136 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@Kris: They're basing the numbers off of a third-party audience quantification algorithm developed and used by Quantcast.  These services help site owners figure out who's visiting from where in order to get a better sense of what is popular with a specific age group.
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

FUNimation's website is still undergoing maintenance. This has been going on since about September. I don't know what the hold up is (I was at FUNi in November) but from the recent times of watching Dance in the Vampire Bund on the site the video was still having problems (video wouldn't play, player would cause my browser to stop working, and a constant flow of commercials and no video). I understand and agree that FUNi has a limited audience compared to Crunchyroll. Another boost for Crunchyroll is its iPhone app (free but need wifi to watch video and membership to watch new content).  
As for YouTube and Hulu, FUNi has been putting a lot of content on them but they are only certain versions. Most of what is on Hulu in subbed and it's really annoying and upsetting. The same can be said about he FUNi YouTube page but most of the anime put there are also new.

Post by Supermutant (7 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I use to love Funimation but now it's bad as crunchyroll and hulu with these comericals.  Man it's a pain in the but for all three.  I hate it.  Funimation you use to be just watch and then later deal with just commerical at the start.  With that time you could push the x to get ride of it.  Now you have to sit through it like you watching it on regular tv and not the internet.
Post by daotherkenji (48 posts) See mini bio Level 4
 I think CR is better because they have a stronger social network so it feels like the view is contributing more. I think that Funi has the better shows and they even have a few dubs that are really good. CR was built on fans streaming where Funi is mainly about dvd's still. And the one big draw that CR has is that its most popular show is Naruto which is still pretty relevant in the US and was broadcast on TV. Where as the most notable shows on Funi may not have even gotten on TV.  The news makes me happy in this economy and maybe if they do even better they can get bought out by google and get an even better catalog of shows.  Funi is suffering from the same thing that all small markets suffer from, there too small and they cannot really generate the buzz necessary to grow into the mainstream, its not like they have the rights to the next Pokemon. If they could only do like microsoft and make people think that they need them then they would do even better.
Post by Sigue (860 posts) See mini bio Level 8
@sotyfan16 said:
"As for YouTube and Hulu, FUNi has been putting a lot of content on them but they are only certain versions. Most of what is on Hulu in subbed and it's really annoying and upsetting. The same can be said about he FUNi YouTube page but most of the anime put there are also new."
The idea is to put new shows that people would get fansubbed up. There obviously won't be a dub available for these shows yet. 
@Supermutant said:
" I use to love Funimation but now it's bad as crunchyroll and hulu with these comericals.  Man it's a pain in the but for all three.  I hate it.  Funimation you use to be just watch and then later deal with just commerical at the start.  With that time you could push the x to get ride of it.  Now you have to sit through it like you watching it on regular tv and not the internet. "
They have to make money somehow. Most of the people that watch the streams aren't going to go buy the DVDs if/when they're released. Streaming supported by ads is a good thing. Surely you can spare three minutes of your precious time to wait for a commercial to finish. People pirate anime because it isn't out on DVD yet and they want to watch it, so companies have begun streaming shows the same day they air in Japan. People don't want to pay for it, so they support themselves with ads. Go to another tab or something for the tiny amount of time it takes for the ad to finish and quit whining.
Post by agila61 (87 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I just finished watching Baccano! over three days, and it was from Funimation but I watched it on Hulu. And I am watching House of Five Leaves - which I started on YouTube/funimation but am now also following on Hulu. So I wonder whether the Funimation numbers may be a massive undercount when their channels on other sites are taken into account.
The adverts were a little annoying ... not as annoying as being restricted to freeloader leach streams, but still a bit annoying ... and I'd love it if CR had a cross-streaming deal where they paid off Hulu the 3 cents or so that they make from one episode's ads and let subscribing anime members watch the content ad free. They could also see about getting streaming rights outside of the US, with US members getting the cross-stream and as many as possible of the rest of the membership getting it streamed directly from CR.
Post by Bigheart711 (3,807 posts) See mini bio Level 21

I'm more used to the FUNimation and VIZ simulcasts than Crunchyroll.CR has more adverts than I'm used to, and I bet that their video membership costs more than some sleazy hotline.
Post by ReVolutionOfEvangelion (102 posts) See mini bio Level 3
The future of anime is online videos; that's the future of TV in general as well.
Bang Zoom's insisting that "online videos aren't profitable" is simply because the R1 Anime companies did an *awful* job of starting their own web players;  they COULD have had online players in 2004 or 2005, but instead they decided that "this isn't how people watch anime"....then saw their industry essentially destroyed, and then grudgingly made their own online players by 2009.  
Heck, even Neo-ADV has an online player now (The Anime Network's online player; they own The Anime Network; there's not much on, but at least they're releasing their new dubbed stuff there; not much, but the "apparatus" is in place...actually better than the Hulu-linked setup Viz has)
They don't seem to understand:  yes, online players make a fraction of the profit....because they have a fraction of the cost to set up!  Handled correctly, profit margins would remain the same, actually better, because there wouldn't be warehouses full of unsold DVDs whenever there's a flop, and it inherently reaches a wider audience.
It's not a matter of "how do we train people to buy DVD's?"
It's a matter of "how do we refine our online video players to maximize exposure and ad revenue?"
If online video players aren't working, its because they're not really trying to make them work in the first place.  They're not very enthusiastic about it.
Post by Konanda (796 posts) See mini bio Level 17

Are you not forgetting that Crunchyroll also has a bunch of Japanese live action dramas on their site as well? That would corrupt the validity of the data if they are just meaning to compare the visitors watching for streaming anime. 
Also I will note that Funimation's video streaming site is open to Canada as well since their products are liscensed for North America (well at least the vast majority of them I assume) and not just the United States.     
Either way I don't give PR spin doctoring any serious credit.

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