At CES today, Funimation announced its new FunimationNow service, a paid ad-free streaming service for anime. This service is essentially a Netflix for anime and allows users in the US, Canada and starting next month the UK to stream over 400 shows.
For Windows users, the most exciting part of the announcement is that Funimation will be launching a Windows 10 Universal app for their Funimation now streaming service for users in the UK, USA and Canada to experience a Netflix like experience.
Personally I’m a bit of an anime fan so while this is good news for me, it is also pretty noteworthy that Funimation is now launching its new apps almost on parity with iOS and Android for Windows 10 and its 200 million strong users.
With this and several other universal app launches in the past month, we can say that Microsoft’s universal app gamble has definitely started to pay off.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – January 7, 2016 – Funimation Entertainment, the go-to studio for extraordinary anime, is embarking on a new chapter. With over 4 billion unique engagements in 2015 across digital, physical and other immersive channels, the industry leader is defining what it means to be a next- generation entertainment company.
Funimation has partnered with Sony DADC New Media Solutions (Sony) to leverage their Ven.ue platform bringing both scale and unique capabilities on the digital front to launch its new ad-free streaming anime service FunimationNow – the first in a series of moves to take this growing genre of entertainment, and Funimation, to the next level.
Regardless of device or platform, FunimationNow subscribers will enjoy ad-free, HD streaming of Funimation’s expansive library of over 400 simulcast and catalog titles, both subbed and dubbed, including acclaimed shows such as “Dragon Ball Z,” “Attack on Titan,” “Fairy Tail,” “One Piece,” “Tokyo Ghoul”, “Space Dandy” and many more.
FunimationNow begins its rollout in early February, when fans can look forward to completely redesigned iOS, Android, and Kindle apps, as well as brand new Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV apps. The apps boast Airplay and Cast features, allowing you to watch on your TV from any mobile device. Also coming in February is a brand new Windows 10 Universal app. In May, fans can also look forward to a fully re-imagined Funimation website and all new integrated experiences on Funimation gaming console apps.
“Our partnership with Sony, the very best in this space, will help power the launch of FunimationNow, our next generation of innovation for anime fans,” said Mike DuBoise, Chief Operating Officer of Funimation. “We’re now uniquely positioned to deliver new and compelling experiences that will be integrated across multiple screens, platforms, and channels, making it easier for fans to discover, share, and experience extraordinary anime.”
Funimation has long been known as the leader in North American anime DVD sales, having launched huge anime brands including “Dragon Ball Z.” What most may not know is their DVD/Blu-ray sales have bucked overall industry trends, experiencing an impressive double digit growth since 2013. To leverage and scale their physical business, the company recently entered into a multi-year partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to manage distribution of Funimation’s DVD and Blu-ray portfolio, as well as sales to national retailers in the U.S. and Canada.
“Ven.ue was designed to power the next generation of consumer experiences, unifying social engagement, commerce and video streaming into a single destination,” said Andy Shenkler, Chief Solutions and Technology Officer of NMS. “We are delighted that Funimation shares our vision of compelling next-gen experiences, and we look forward to enriching fans’ enjoyment of anime everywhere.”
“FunimationNow will be powered to support tens of millions of concurrent streams globally,” said Rahul Purini, Chief Technology Officer at Funimation. “And with support for Ultra 4k and 10 Mbps streams, Funimation is a true leader in anime entertainment.”
In 2015, Funimation Entertainment launched Funimation Films with “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’” as its debut theatrical release in August 2015. The film grossed over $8M at the U.S. box office in just 8 days of release – becoming one of the top ten highest grossing anime releases of all time as well as the only top 10 film released by an independent studio.
FunimationNow illustrates the company’s continued implementation of its omnichannel strategy, which now includes home entertainment, theatrical distribution and broadcast television and direct to consumer.