RetroCrush Anime Streaming Service Acquired by Cinedgm

Another anime streaming company has been sold -- RetroCrush has been bought up by Cinedigm, an American entertainment company specializing in digital content and distribution.

As reported by Deadline, Cinedigm announced on Jan. 6 that it has acquired Digital Media Rights, a digital media company that owns and operates several smaller streaming services. The sale includes all of the streaming channels operated by DMR, which includes AsianCrush, a service dedicated primarily to streaming Korean TV dramas and movies, and its sister service RetroCrush, which provides free, ad-supported streams of classic anime series from the 1980s, '90s, and early 2000s. According to Deadline's source within DMR, the company was sold for somewhere between $20 million - $25 million USD.

RetroCrush launched in 2020 with the goal of building "a community built for the consumption and discussion of the Golden Age of Japanese animation."  The service notably streamed several classic anime titles that had been out-of-print and unavailable for quite some time, including the classic comedy series Project A-Ko, the highly influential rom-com Kimagure Orange Road and Demon Lord Dante, a series that was created by Devilman creator Go Nagai. Last summer, the company announced that it had acquired the streaming rights to Adolescence of Utena, the movie adaptation of the pioneering Revolutionary Girl Utena series. In August of 2021, RetroCrush announced that it had partnered with video rental company Redbox to offer its library on that company's streaming service; it is unknown if Cinedigm's acquisition will affect the availability of RetroCrush's titles on that platform.

The addition of Digital Media Rights' streaming channels bring the total amount of streaming services owned by Cinedigm to more than 30. Cinedigm purchases the classic film service The Film Detective in 2020, and in 2021 it acquired the El Rey Network, a streaming service focused on Spanish language "grindhouse" content that was founded by Once Upon a Time in Mexico director Robert Rodriguez.

As the streaming market becomes more competitive, many companies are turning to anime to help fill out their content libraries. On Jan. 5, just one day before RetroCrush's sale, AMC Networks announced that it had purchased anime distributor Sentai Filmworks and its streaming service, HIDIVE. Sentai owns the home video licensing rights to several popular series, including Haikyuu!! and Made in Abyss, and HIDIVE was the exclusive streaming home of the classic Lupin the Third anime series. Netflix and Disney have also invested heavily in securing exclusive anime series for their subscription services, and tech conglomerate Sony spent a reported $1.1 billion USD in 2021 to purchase Crunchyroll, one of the most popular anime streamers in the world.

Source: Deadline

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