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Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex Announce Global Streaming Merger


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Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. division Sony Pictures Television and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. subsidiary Aniplex Inc. (Aniplex) announced the merging of three anime streaming properties on Tuesday. Sony Pictures Television's Funimation headlines the global streaming group that includes Aniplex's France-based Wakanim and Australia-based Madman Anime Group (Madman). Funimation general manager Colin Decker will lead the jointly owned group.



The merger comes on the heels of Funimation acquiring UK anime distributor Manga Entertainment in May and expands the company's reach to 49 countries worldwide.


Included in the announcement is news of the group's first collaborative offering; Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia will stream exclusively on FunimationNow, Wakanim, and Madman's AnimeLab for 30 days starting on October 5. After the one month window of exclusivity, the anime will remain available but may be licensed by additional companies. Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia is an adaptation of the "Dai Nana Tokuiten Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia" chapter from the Fate/Grand Order mobile game, released by Aniplex in Summer 2015.

Wakanim was founded in 2009, and is noted for being the first animation streaming provider to offer direct downloads without Digital Rights Management in Europe. It was acquired by Aniplex in April 2015.

Madman Anime Group, formerly a part of Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd., was purchased by Aniplex for AU$35 million this February. It launched the AnimeLab streaming service for Australia and New Zealand in 2014.

Funimation is a US-based producer, licensor, and distributor of anime and is a major player in the global market for English-subtitled and dubbed anime. In January 2014 it began a simuldub program, allowing viewers quick access to English-dubbed anime via streaming on FunimationNow. The company claims its catalogue is comprised of over 600 titles representing over 10,000 hours of content, figures that should rise after Tuesday's consolidation. Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% stake in Funimation in July 2017.

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