AMC Networks has acquired anime content distributor Sentai and its assets, including niche streaming service HIDIVE.
AMC Networks acquires Sentai. Sentai’s anime-centric direct-to-consumer platform will join AMC Plus, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK. The company expects to reach between 20 million to 25 million paid subscribers across its streaming services by 2025.
Anime content distributor Sentai and its assets, including the niche subscription streaming service HIDIVE, were bought by AMC Networks from Cool Japan Fund.
To that end, AMC, BBC America (a joint venture with BBC Studios) and IFC have digital services in addition to their linear networks AMC (AMC), BBC America (BBC Studios) and IFC (SundanceTV).
AMC Networks interim CEO Matt Blank, in statement, said: “With a seasoned team, strong content and direct-to-consumer offerings for fans around the world, Sentai is a key global player in anime.”
“This acquisition builds on AMC Networks’ already strong IP and franchises, and furthers our targeted streaming strategy of super-serving passionate audiences with content depth, curation and community.”
John Ledford, President and CEO of HIDIVE LLC, followed up, adding: “We are thrilled by AMC Networks’ acquisition and are excited to be a part of their growth strategy. This acquisition will not change Sentai’s mission to deliver the most exciting anime content to audiences around the world — it will expand it greatly and will give our content businesses more distribution, more partnerships, more scale and more reach. I could not be more pleased.”
It’s been reported that Sentai has “excellent industry contacts and access to important content creators in Japan,” and that “its material is available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Amazon Prime, amongst others,” according to AMC Networks.
ANIME ON THE RISE!
The popularity of Japanese anime is on the rise, with big studios like Sony Pictures Entertainment lately amassing a hefty portfolio of the genre’s assets. Last August, Funimation, a division of Sony, completed the $1.175 billion cash purchase of AT&T’s anime streaming service Crunchyroll.
AMC Networks announced Wednesday that it hopes to have between 20 million and 25 million paying subscribers across its streaming platforms by the year 2025 in conjunction with the acquisition of Sentai-HIDIVE. By the end of 2021, the business expected to have nine million paying subscribers, although it hasn’t verified that number yet.
Founder John Ledford, Griffin Vance, and Paul Clinkscales will remain in their executive responsibilities when Sentai’s executive management team transfers to AMC Networks. In the company’s acquisition of Sentai, all of the Japanese investment fund Cool Japan Fund’s member interests are included.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HIDIVE?
The question on everybody’s mind is what will happen to HIDIVE after the acquisition? HIDIVE offers large catalogue of exclusive English dubbed anime shows and movies. The more popular anime titles include: MADE IN ABYSS, Akame ga Kill, Food Wars!, Clannad, Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, High School of the Dead, Girls & Panzer, No Game No Life, K-On!, Assassin’s Pride and Parasyte -the maxim-.
Despite the great catalogue, HIDIVE have often been criticised for their lacklustre streaming app. Although it is available on Google TVs and, Android Play Store, Apple’s App Store and even on the Xbox, the app has often been slammed for its functionality and the lack of some key features and is leagues behind its competitors like Funimation and Crunchyroll.
Now the entirety of HIDIVE’s content, as well as SentaiFilmworks.com and Anime Network, will be available to AMC Plus subscribers which is also available through Amazon’s Prime TV.
Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and ALLBLK, and now Sentai’s anime-focused direct-to-consumer platform will all be available exclusively to AMC Plus members.