Subscription anime service Crunchyroll is taking its act into the free, ad-supported streaming world by launching its own channel on multiple platforms.
Crunchyroll on Wednesday launched a free channel running a selection of popular anime 24/7 to popular platforms Amazon Freevee, The Roku Channel, LG Channels and VIZIO WatchFree+. The channel will run English-dubbed episodes of Horimiya, Ranking of Kings, Moriarty the Patriot, PSYCHO–PASS, Sugar Apple Fairytale, To Your Eternity and Code Geass.
Crunchyroll’s move to a free, ad-supported model reflects the growing draw of these services, which has proven to be an antidote for the subscription fatigue that many consumers are feeling. The platforms feel more like traditional broadcast television with commercial breaks, but with a vastly enhanced lineup of different channels.
Some of these platforms already feature channels dedicated to specific anime like Hunter X Hunter, but Crunchyroll is sharing some of its extensive library for its channel. While anime has exploded in popularity over the years, there’s still a relatively small audience for all but the most popular shows (think One Piece or Naruto). The channel could entice viewers to learn more about different shows.
“Crunchyroll Channel is a gateway to the world of anime where we will guide viewers to discover new worlds, new stories and new characters,” said Rahul Purini, president of Crunchyroll. “And thanks to our distribution partners at launch, millions of fans have easy access to the medium that is taking the world by storm!”
Crunchyroll said it plans to offer other promotional, genre and themed programming blocks to help viewers sample different anime from Japan.
The service will maintain the vast majority of its content behind the subscription, which offers both a library of older shows and simulcasts of new anime airing in Japan.
Crunchyroll, owned by Sony, worked with sister subsidiary GSN to get connected into the world of free, ad-supported streaming. The channel is the result of a joint effort with the company behind the Game Show Network, which offers a number of free, ad-supported channels such as CINEVAULT Classics and Game Show Central.