Acquisition of ADN, ex-Crunchyroll, to “maintain a direct relationship with the public”

At the beginning are genzai.fr and kzplay.fr, video on demand platforms belonging to Media-Participations and VIZ Media Europe. Their merger in September 2013 resulted in the creation of the Anime Digital Network, which has a catalog of 4000 anime episodes and about fifty films: naruto, Fairy Tail or Magi is on the menu.

In a decade, the players moved: Crunchyroll, a subsidiary of Warner Media at the time, merged with VIZ Media Europe (which includes manga and anime publisher Kazé, among others) in 2019. Two years ago, Funimation Global Group, a subsidiary of Sony, got its hands on Crunchyroll, and its divisions. It should be noted, however, that through the acquisition of Kazé in 2009, VIZ Media Europe (which belongs to the Japanese publishers Shûeisha and Shôgakukan) is anchored in a strategy aimed mainly at the French territory. That being said, Kazé definitely came under the Crunchyroll brand in June.

But the times are changing and the former partners parted for a happier tomorrow, because each was by his side. Crunchyroll sold its shares to the company ADN, which became the full property of Média-Participations: a few months after mixing the capital with Deezer, the French company decided to consolidate its digital side.

READ: Media Engagements and Deezer, audiobooks, podcasts, comics

For the sake of anecdote, just the same, remember that Crunchyroll began its activity in 2006 as a video sharing site – including fansubs – before the transition towards legal distribution began, two years the past. However, the general interest group represented by ADN is also motivated by the need for a legal offer, to respond to piracy…

DNA, a matter of genetics

On the part of Crunchyroll, ceder d’ADN facilitates the ongoing work of global integration of European services and brands. Therefore, when the French platform Wakanim merged with Crunchyroll – March 2022 – it did not take long for the catalog to be poured directly into the tubes of the parent company.

It is the same with Funimation, which signed up for the distribution of Crunchyroll in January 2016 and was finally acquired in July 2017. For $ 143 million, Sony became the majority shareholder, knowing the rest of the results. By the way, Funimation also pilots Wakanim: the world is small.

ADN has therefore become the most important French streaming platform, dedicated to animation, with titles like naruto, One Piece, Attack of the Titans, Hunter X Hunter hope Demon Slayer – don’t throw it away! ” ADN’s desire has always been to share its passion for animation, whether Japanese or French, in the French market. This is why ADN will now offer a wider range of Japanese anime, teen and adult animation as well as original French productions.“said Julien Lemoine, general manager of the structure.

The financial conditions are clearly not announced, but the projects are no longer lacking: Ankama – in which Media-Participations is a shareholder since 2017 – and ADN will collaborate in terms of works and technology. The video game production studio, which has diversified into publishing board games, books and then animation, also added the webtoon string to its bow in May.

The requirement of original works

Still, this division is becoming more and more predictable, as confirmed by Julien Papelier, Deputy Managing Director of Media Participations. ” Crunchy has two distribution platforms, its own and ADN, which is meaningless for the French market only.And, after the acquisition, Sony battled Wakanim with its baggage. In this way, Crunchy has three offers for the French territory – and the future of ADN requires a decision on the part of Media.

Of course, the discussions started some time ago, but in order to find an agreement, a chain of legal and other validations was put in place…

This time, Media Participations is especially happy that most of the DNA team stayed on the adventure. “We share this feeling of building a successful asset, the team is very connected to its subscribers and members: it would be bad not to be able to continue with them», continued Julien Papelier.

Especially since the topics will not be lacking, starting with the most sensitive: ensuring the works that have been broadcast until now. “France remains a country of reference for everything related to Japanese culture, pleading our favor. However, the challenge is much bigger: getting closer to Japanese partners, anticipating and maintaining competitive offers. “Investments are important, but the Media model is one of long-term vision, which also involves brand management. We have some unique methods to highlight.»

And success stories likenarutowhose global exploitation, from Kana as a manga publisher through the audiovisual rights of Médiatoon, “shows consistency in actions“. This does not prevent, on the contrary, to look at the price of real estate in Tokyo, in case it is necessary to get closer to the Japanese publishers…

In the same way, ADN will logically develop original creations – a requirement for streaming offers that will then be seen by subscribers. During the Annecy festival, a first co-production was revealed: the adaptation ofland of dreams, published by Pika. The success of this French manga puts serious hopes on this audiovisual production – and of course, more will come.

Public link

In boxes, ADN’s goal is above all “the wealth of European talents, building a hybrid culture, with their American, Japanese and Franco-Belgian influences“, says the DGA. The integration of the teams will happen gradually, with a clearly defined vision:Facing digital giants, American, Chinese or Japanese, must exist and maintain a direct relationship with the public“, emphasized Julien Papelier. “When vis-à-vis readers or viewers, this connection becomes fundamental. »

From there an expanded creative spectrum, and a DNA offer to accompany the series for teenagers and adults. In Media, we already have experience in this area – Tintin, Boule and Bill, Garfield or even the Marsupilami and The Smurfs prove it. Providing the platform with the capacity for innovation as well as unpublished works will only strengthen its appeal.

And then, it’s hard to ignore Ankama’s exchanges. Briefly mentioned, the studio actually has many points in common, Julien Papelier admits. “We do not plan to merge structures, because we have a culture of diversity. On the other hand, the rapprochement of forces is clear, because Ankama and ADN have universes that are united. Game, fantasy, manga and Japanese animation are always talking.Without forgetting the webtoon and its rise…

photo credits: DNA

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