Is Funi's Distribution Deal with Comcast the Real Reason It is Losing to Aniplex?



  • This is all speculative… however it may appear to be so that the real reason Funimation is shedding everything recently to Aniplex and by extension, Crunchyroll; is because of a "Hollywood War" brewing between Comcast and Sony.

    After doing some Wikipedia research for another thread, I recently came to the attention that last year Funimation and Comcast (Universal Pictures) agreed to a physical media (DVD) distribution deal. If so, this could be the catalysis that started to break apart some of the titles that magically disappeared this year.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Pictures_Home_Entertainment

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/funimation-and-universal-pictures-home-entertainment-enter-into-multi-year-distribution-agreement-300103173.html
    FLOWER MOUND, Texas, June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – FUNimation Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) have reached an exclusive multi-year distribution services agreement. Universal will manage distribution of FUNimation's entire DVD and Blu-ray portfolio, as well as sales to many national retailers in the U.S. and Canada. John Morici, Managing Director -- U.S. and Canada, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and Mike DuBoise, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, FUNimation, jointly made the announcement today.

    This agreement will allow FUNimation, North America's anime market share leader, to continue delivering on its commitment to serve anime fans everywhere and to expand its leadership in home entertainment. "Pairing Universal's 'best-in-class' home entertainment distribution infrastructure with FUNimation's superior anime properties, along with our marketing, production, and fan engagement capabilities, effectively positions our companies for enduring success," said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and founder of FUNimation. "We believe this new strategic agreement will create an important opportunity for us to strengthen our physical distribution business."

    "As the home entertainment industry continues to evolve, this agreement will create greater scale and opportunities for us across our physical distribution business, resulting in meaningful benefits," said DuBoise. "It also allows us to double down on our efforts to acquire and co-produce shows, build brands for our partners, improve fan experiences at every touch-point, and further develop digital distribution capabilities."

    IF so, this would explain some things. Companies that used to work with Funimation in the past, but now are "enemies", because of their alignment with Comcast; in the case of Aniplex/Sony, because of course Sony has a large US presence with its own media distribution. This Comcast agreement may indeed have effects that extend beyond Aniplex, to other Japanese companies, who feel infuriated/threatened by this "Alliance" nonetheless.

    EDIT: REPOSTED FROM BELOW

    @thegrandalliance:

    My contention is that:

    1. Funimation makes deal with Comcast to handle Anime Distribution (the DVD, and potentially streaming).
    2. Sony, the company that owns Aniplex, is now "mad", because Sony and Comcast(NBC Universial) are big USA rivals (for other reasons; movies). They consider a deal with Funimation the same as a deal with Comcast (because Comcast will be selling Sony's content via Funimation). Furthermore, there may be Intellectual Property considerations here as well.
    3. Sony, deciding that its biggest US customer (Funimation), has "gone to the dark side", makes a strategic decision to withdraw its licenses to everyone in USA, not only Funimation, and to go First-Party via its US division "Aniplex of America".
    4. Funimation, and others, "unexpectedly" lose all of their licenses.

    Finally, it is difficult to determine "who fired first" in this situation. It is also possible, although unlikely, that Comcast; as part of the agreement, forced Funimation to terminate deals with Aniplex. Because information on private companies are rare, if non-existent, it would be hard to verify these claims. Nonetheless, the agreement with Comcast. and the following cutoffs to Sony appears to be more then a mere coincidence it is so…

    FUNIMATION, Brought to You By:
    THE FUTURE OF AWESOME!



  • I'd say it's in Conspiracy theory territory. Aniplex is cancelling it's licenses with everyone. NIS America lost both AnoHana and the first 2 seasons of Wagnaria! (Workiing!) as well. It's more than likely a business move to consolidate it's titles under one licensor (Black Butler more than likely had a "Right of First Refusal" on any subsequent seasons in the contract which is why FUNimation was able to get Book of Circus) .



  • @thegrandalliance:

    This is all speculative… however it may appear to be so that the real reason Funimation is shedding everything recently to Aniplex and by extension, Crunchyroll; is because of a "Hollywood War" brewing between Comcast and Sony.

    After doing some Wikipedia research for another thread, I recently came to the attention that last year Funimation and Comcast (Universal Pictures) agreed to a physical media (DVD) distribution deal. If so, this could be the catalysis that started to break apart some of the titles that magically disappeared this year.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Pictures_Home_Entertainment

    IF so, this would explain some things. Companies that used to work with Funimation in the past, but now are "enemies", because of their alignment with Comcast; in the case of Aniplex/Sony, because of course Sony has a large US presence with its own media distribution. This Comcast agreement may indeed have effects that extend beyond Aniplex, to other Japanese companies, who feel infuriated/threatened by this "Alliance" nonetheless.

    Finally, it is difficult to determine "who fired first" in this situation. It is also possible that Comcast, as part of the agreement, forced Funimation to terminate deals with Aniplex. Because information on private companies are rare, if non-existent, it would be hard to verify these claims. Nonetheless, the agreement with Comcast. and the following cutoffs to Sony appears to be more then a mere coincidence it is so…

    FUNIMATION, Brought to You By:
    THE FUTURE OF AWESOME!

    I've read your post but I'm confused :(
    Do you have a simplified/easier to understand version.



  • You're thinking about it too much, TGA. Aniplex isn't just targeting Funi, they're taking back all the shows they've ever licensed to anyone. Not only the NIS America titles that Series mentioned, but a few Sentai Filmworks titles such as Guin Saga and Hell Girl seasons 2 & 3 are OOP as well.

    Any possible connection regarding Comcast is conspiracy at best. Methinks you really should take the tin foil hat off more often. :hmm:



  • Sorry for getting off topic but I searched up OOP and I'm not sure which acronym you are referring too. Also what does it mean, thanks in advance :)



  • OOP = Out of print.



  • Considering Aniplex is going to be having Funimation stream more of their stuff, I'd say that's further proof of this being conspiracy.

    Aniplex of America licensed Hai-Furi and the second season of Asterisk War will stream both series on several streaming services, including FunimationNow.

    It's in this article:http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-04-01/funimation-to-stream-endride-kumamiko-shonen-maid-and-you-thought-there-is-never-a-girl-online-sansha-sanyo-anime/.100563



  • @Series5Ranger:

    I'd say it's in Conspiracy theory territory. Aniplex is cancelling it's licenses with everyone.

    Perhaps, but there is a difference between simply not giving Funimation new titles, and pulling the plug mid-stream without any strategy for re-release. Is it really that much more profitable to pull FMA, a show that has been out for over a decade, in order to take it first party?

    Some of the idea behind Aniplex is to raise prices, and to sell first party, but for Anime series that is already low-priced (because it is a decade+ old) it makes no business sense: How much more money can they possibility make from FMA by taking it first party?

    @Series5Ranger:

    NIS America lost both AnoHana and the first 2 seasons of Wagnaria! (Workiing!) as well.

    The 2 titles you sited, may simply be because the license were already set to expire: They are both around 5 year-old series, and with a 5-year license that would make sense. Some of the derivative products, uch as the movie for AnoHana, was licensed in 2013 by Aniplex, so it was probably a transition already set. Furthermore, Funimation or for that matter, Comcast, may not be their only target. They may be targeting other Japanese rivials as well.

    Lastly, I want to point out the obvious: Grimgar of Fantasy/Ash (we all know how much I "love" this one). It is A1-Pictures as well, as was just picked up in Winter by Funimation.

    If A-1Pictures were being consolidated into Aniplex, then why did Funimation get rights to Grimgar?

    Again, there are inconsistencies with all theories here, but alas the fact that this all started within the last year doesn't add up either. In the end, it is hard to prove anything because all transactions for the most part are private, and details not reported. My contention is that, the Funimation/Comcast deal somehow caused a change of events that lead to the present. Are other unrelated American companies affected? Yes, however assuming that Aniplex's biggest "customer" of Funimation "became hostile", Sony may have decided to pull the plug on everything and change up the business model entirely.

    @Anthony:

    I've read your post but I'm confused :(
    Do you have a simplified/easier to understand version.

    My contention is that:

    1. Funimation makes deal with Comcast to handle Anime Distribution (the DVD, and potentially streaming).
    2. Sony, the company that owns Aniplex, is now "mad", because Sony and Comcast(NBC Universial) are big USA rivals (for other reasons; movies). They consider a deal with Funimation the same as a deal with Comcast (because Comcast will be selling Sony's content via Funimation). Furthermore, there may be Intellectual Property considerations here as well.
    3. Sony, deciding that its biggest US customer (Funimation), has "gone to the dark side", makes a strategic decision to withdraw its licenses to everyone in USA, not only Funimation, and to go First-Party via its US division "Aniplex of America".
    4. Funimation, and others, "unexpectedly" lose all of their licenses.

    The point is, is that even though other companies are effected, the Funimation/Comcast deal was the "catalysis" that caused a chain of events to occur that lead to where we are now. Is this all speculative without direct proof? Absolutely. However, as one who doesn't "believe in coincidences"; the timing of all of this is far too close to be simply random events it is so…

    @SpacemanHardy:

    Any possible connection regarding Comcast is conspiracy at best. Methinks you really should take the tin foil hat off more often.

    Aaah, the "tin hat" is what keeps you alive… this is the world of business we are talking about here. People, for years in 2000s, thought that the housing market blowing up thus leading to the destruction of world economy was "a tin foil hat theory"; until it actually happened in September, 2008. They may not all be right, or accurate, but usually there is at least some shred of truth to it so...



  • @thegrandalliance:

    2. Sony, the company that owns Aniplex, is now "mad", because Sony and Comcast(NBC Universial) are big USA rivals (for other reasons; movies). They consider a deal with Funimation the same as a deal with Comcast (because Comcast will be selling Sony's content via Funimation). Furthermore, there may be Intellectual Property considerations here as well.

    The weird thing to me is that Funimation is partnering with Sony for FunimationNow… It may be the whole idea that Aniplex is part of the Japanese branch and the Sony DADC New Media Solutions is part of the US branch, and they don't deal with each other much or at all, but they are still under Sony as a whole.



  • @Unicron:

    The weird thing to me is that Funimation is partnering with Sony for FunimationNow… It may be the whole idea that Aniplex is part of the Japanese branch and the Sony DADC New Media Solutions is part of the US branch, and they don't deal with each other much or at all, but they are still under Sony as a whole.

    Well, in the end all BluRays are Sony controlled, as they invented the standard. It is possible that Funimation NOW! uses a similar video encoding to a BluRay, in order to reduce costs, so that would explain the cooperation. IN other words, the video encodic is similar/same for streaming as the BlueRay. That why they don't have to re-encode everything, one for stream and one for BluRay.

    However, because I am not aware of what video codex FUNImation NOW! player actually uses, this is speculative, but alas it would make sense nonetheless.



  • Ahh I get it now, danks for explaining it to me in simpler terms



  • I don't think it's a conspiracy theory, that's just business politics. Aniplex would take back a bunch of titles for plausible deniability when someone points out that exact thing. FUNi/Comcast probably knew exactly what would happen, weighed the odds, and took the plunge anyway, keeping it quiet until it actually started happening, but being forthcoming with dates and such once fans realized it and asked. Nothing malicious or nasty or secretive… just people doing things that make sense.

    . . . have I spent too much time in Japan if this just seems like the obvious story to me?

    Anyway, the increase in cooperation between Hollywood and anime companies is a good sign, I think. I just want anime/animation to get the recognition it deserves and the funding to really expand to its potential - which, I believe, is greater than any other medium. What Japan makes for the otaku audience isn't there, and neither is what Hollywood (and other countries' industries) make for the kids audience. Together, maybe... shrug

    Edit: Also, as for the market for super-expensive sets of older shows... that's always been AoA's thing. Super expensive sets for people who really really love that show, and everyone else can just stream/rent it. Because that's how it is in Japan. But yes, there are probably as many people who lovelovelove some show from ten years ago and will buy a super-expensive set as there are for some of the more recent shows they've released (look at the ones they've released sub-only).

    . . . . and no, that was not a thinly-veiled reference to FUNi's Sunrise situation, though I do not mind if someone chooses to read it that way. polishes empty spot on shelf reserved for anything with Lelouch on it, no matter how much you're charging



  • @Fiammetta:

    Aniplex would take back a bunch of titles for plausible deniability when someone points out that exact thing.

    Indeed, well summarized: Exactly this. Because it is hard for us peons to figure out what happened, they can get away with it.

    @Fiammetta:

    Anyway, the increase in cooperation between Hollywood and anime companies is a good sign, I think. I just want anime/animation to get the recognition it deserves and the funding to really expand to its potential - which, I believe, is greater than any other medium.

    Nah, this situation is horrible. Hollywood is American, and American movie politics (just ask MPAA) will destroy Anime. American culture doesn't care about the subtle nature of Anime, at least the good ones. They only care about profit.

    …the reason they get away with remaking the same movie over and over and over again. How many "Fantastic 4", "Godzilla", "Transformers" or otherwise remakes can we tolerate? How about "Star Wars: Episode 8129479382478927"? If Otaku care about the future of their content, and having it be "Americanized", the "cooperation with Hollywood" is more like a hostile takeover of Anime Industry thereof.

    If you thought 12 episode seasons; only to be canceled with story unfinished, were bad enough... just you wait. Gone are the days Anime used to actually be about ANime, and not $$$.

    BTW if you think "Anime is Japanese; they don't' care about USA"... remember that their population is falling of a cliff due to low birthrate. Since Anime is generally focused on young people, that market is shrinking even faster. By 2030 or sooner, it is very likely that American Anime Market will actually be larger then Japan, and thus they will be forced into capitulation.



  • @thegrandalliance:

    Hollywood is American, and American movie politics (just ask MPAA) will destroy Anime.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRKz82v5JQY



  • @SpacemanHardy:

    LoL, now I know you are just counter-trolling me: You have to be blind (perhaps space-blindness in your case) to think American Hollywood-ness hasn't already left a toll on Anime. Seasons used to always be 26 episodes; now you are lucky if you get 12 episode seasons before they cancel the show. By the time they are done with the industry, Anime will be just another boring American product, not unlike all the recycled garbage that is broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) TV…



  • @thegrandalliance:

    LoL, now I know you are just counter-trolling me: You have to be blind (perhaps space-blindness in your case) to think American Hollywood-ness hasn't already left a toll on Anime. Seasons used to always be 26 episodes; now you are lucky if you get 12 episode seasons before they cancel the show. By the time they are done with the industry, Anime will be just another boring American product, not unlike all the recycled garbage that is broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) TV…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tQkHC0G9-k



  • This post is deleted!


  • @Anthony:

    I've read your post but I'm confused :(
    Do you have a simplified/easier to understand version.

    Look at it this way: it's corporate politics. And confusion is built into the system unfortunately.

    Comcast/Xfinity was 'brought' a few years back by NBC Universal Entertainment. I'm sure that getting financial backing by a studio in Hollywood is a good idea from a licensing standpoint. Though I don't know what Sony's involvement would be other than the studio's involvement/ownership of Aniplex (of America). If what the MP states is correct, it explains why Aniplex titles are getting pulled from distribution so quickly. Licensing by its nature aren't designed to have indefinite terms. But it strikes me as demonstrating Aniplex's meanie attitude by pulling releases out of distribution. DVD (physical media) and streaming carry with them separate licensing terms. I don't understand all the ins and outs of those as yet. I'm only going by my basic understanding of printed media publishing where you would have different licensing terms for printed volumes versus ebooks or other electronic delivery streams.

    It gets very complicated when you have other entities exercising their interests. In the end, it means that Aniplex is making it harder on fans to get physical media, paying nearly double what it was available previously. It totally sucks but it is what it is.



  • @BellaYaoiKitsune:

    Look at it this way: it's corporate politics. And confusion is built into the system unfortunately.

    Comcast/Xfinity was 'brought' a few years back by NBC Universal Entertainment.

    I am not certain if you have a typo here, but alas Comcast was the company doing the purchase, not NBC. NBC was a division of General Electric, sold off after the 2008 to raise capital to Comcast. Xfinity is simply a rebranding of their Cable services to make it "appeal to Millennials".

    @BellaYaoiKitsune:

    In the end, it means that Aniplex is making it harder on fans to get physical media, paying nearly double what it was available previously. It totally sucks but it is what it is.

    Aaah, yes, thank you for reminding me of this; as I always tend to forget for some reason the massive price increases as a result of the situation. Of course, I haven't bought an Anime DVD in like 7 years so that figures I suppose…

    In either case, thank you for your post: Most helpful in explaining things to "The Peoples of the Internet" it is so...



  • @thegrandalliance:

    LoL, now I know you are just counter-trolling me: You have to be blind (perhaps space-blindness in your case) to think American Hollywood-ness hasn't already left a toll on Anime. Seasons used to always be 26 episodes; now you are lucky if you get 12 episode seasons before they cancel the show. By the time they are done with the industry, Anime will be just another boring American product, not unlike all the recycled garbage that is broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) TV…

    Not really look at NBC licensed and made Astro Boy and look how successful that anime became…



  • I didn't know Astro Boy was an anime… I thought it was only a movie (which btw I loved when I was younger, I still like it now but not as much).


Log in to reply