CrunchyRoll, The Hulu Focus On Anime And Asian Content

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CrunchyRoll, founded in 2006 by some UC Berkeley undergraduates, can be viewed as the Hulu for Asian content.  CrunchyRoll has a strong niche social networking community focused on Asian entertainment including but not limited to anime, music, manga, cars, and games. They received 4 million in funding from Venrock in early 2008, and have had a huge growth spurt in terms of users and more recently, business partnerships with publishers in Asia.

In the past, CrunchyRoll was supported by fansubbers who uploaded their subbed content to share with others. It worked too since “sharing is caring” and the community uploaded much content. Unfortunately, as the site grew popular, publishers such as Bandai Entertainment and FUNimation Entertainment asked CrunchyRoll to take down popular anime such as Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, and the Naruto. CrunchyRoll also has been very diligent about taking down other licensed anime but each time a popular anime gets taken down, CrunchyRolls users show dismay. Fortunately, CrunchyRoll users can rejoice in 2009.

Following the model of Hulu, CrunchyRoll has made partnerships with 25 publisher partners putting content up and the site will have over 130 titles come January.  TV Tokyo and Viz Media to stream the ever popular Naruto anime online.  Gonzo and Toei Animation are also planning to stream their anime online through the website.  With the publishers content coming to the site, CrunchyRoll has made the decision to stop user uploads.  To earn more money outside of the standard advertising model, CrunchyRoll has added monthly charges for premium services, such as watching HD quality English subbed Naruto Shippuuden the same day it airs in Japan.  Interestingly enough, CrunchyRoll allows members to earn points through its advertising partners in order to gain free premium services. With this model, everyone is happy since CrunchyRoll, its advertising partners, its publishing partners, and its users all benefit.