Anime fans will soon have dozens of new reasons to be Hulu subscribers, as a new deal signed between the streaming content service and anime producer/distributor Funimation will see a lot more anime on Hulu.
It’s reportedly the biggest deal concerning anime programming to date, and it gives Hulu first-look rights at all the new titles being licensed and produced by Funimation starting in 2019. This past October saw Funimation scrap its licensing deal with Crunchyroll, which is a win for Hulu lovers.
As Variety explains, “Hulu gets first dibs on U.S. streaming video-on-demand rights to anime series from Funimation. The deal will make Hulu and Funimation the co-exclusive destinations to certain new subtitled anime series [at the same time as] their Japanese broadcast premieres (and eventually dubbed versions as well).”
For U.S.-based anime lovers who are used to having to wait for subtitled anime series following their Japanese premieres, this new arrangement is great news.
The streaming service is reportedly hoping for 20 seasons of new anime on Hulu per year over the life of the agreement.
Hulu isn’t saying which Funimation anime projects it’s looking to start streaming in 2019, but future seasons of Funimation shows already on Hulu are “obvious targets,” according to Hulu’s VP of Content Acquisition Lisa Holme. Those include some of the top anime series, like Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia and Tokyo Ghoul.
Hulu currently streams 400 anime series. The Funimation catalog includes more than 600 shows.
Gen Fukunaga, the president and CEO of Funimation, says the deal “will fuel the acquisition of new titles and provide both Funimation and Hulu subscribers with access to the very best in anime that Japan has to offer.”
All of the anime on Hulu produced by Funimation will also be found on FunimationNow, the production company/distributor’s own streaming service, which is geared more towards big-time anime fans and costs $5.99 per month.
The deal with Funimation to welcome more anime on Hulu is a sign of the growing power and significance of anime content. “There’s an assumption that anime is a niche category but we see that it’s growing, and there’s crossover between anime fans and other genres,” Hulu’s Holme has said.