Sentai Filmworks, the anime licensing company best known for distributing shows such as Made in Abyss, Haikyuu!! and Kakegurui, has been bought out by American entertainment company AMC Networks.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, AMC Networks announced its acquisition of Sentai Holdings for an undisclosed amount on Jan. 5. The acquisition includes Sentai Filmworks, the company's anime licensing and distribution branch, and HIDIVE, a dedicated anime streaming service that is known for carrying many classic and niche titles. "With strong industry relationships and access to key content creators in Japan, Sentai distributes and curates one of the anime industry’s most diverse libraries of top trending and classic titles, with its content available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Amazon Prime, among others,” A representative for AMC Networks said in a prepared statement. “Sentai’s HIDIVE streaming service represents a strong new addition to AMC Networks’ portfolio of fast-growing targeted offerings,” AMC said.
Sentai Filmworks is known for being the North American distributor of the long-running Lupin the Third anime series, and has also released a number of other popular series, including the sports comedy Haikyuu!!, the critically acclaimed fantasy series Made in Abyss, and the equally lauded shojo anime, Chihayafuru. The company has a reputation for releasing their titles on home video in lavish special editions that contain large amounts of bonus material. While many of the company's titles are available on other streaming services, such as Crunchyroll and Funimation, Sentai also operates HIDIVE. In November, HIDIVE announced that it had acquired the exclusive streaming rights to the entire Lupin the Third anime series. The service is also the exclusive streaming home to a number of other classic anime series, including Initial D and The Big O.
AMC Networks is best known as the parent company of the AMC cable channel, which produces critically lauded shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men. In addition to AMC, the company also owns and operates several more niche outlets, such as IFC and the horror-focused Shudder streaming service.
In addition to AMC, several other major entertainment companies have invested heavily in anime in recent years. Netflix has partnered with numerous anime studios to produce exclusive content for its streaming service, and has secured a number of high profile series, including the the popular Jojo's Bizarre Adventure anime, as well as the latest season of the long-running Pokémon animated series. Disney has also licensed a number of anime series for its Disney+ streaming service, the most notable being Tatami Time Machine Blues, a sequel to Science SARU's 2010 cult-classic The Tatami Galaxy. Tech conglomerate Sony, which already owned anime distributor Funimation, purchased streaming service Crunchyroll in 2021 for over $1 billion USD.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter