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Business News/ Industry / Media/  ‘India 2nd largest anime market for Crunchyroll’

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI : Global anime brand Crunchyroll sees India as the second largest anime market in the world after the US and expects 60% of the global growth in the next few years in the category to come from the country.

Crunchyroll, LLC is an independent joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment in US and Aniplex in Japan, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., both subsidiaries of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corp.

“India is still a nascent market for us but we’re seeing really strong fandom for anime across the country, and not just in metros but also from tier-two and three towns. Anime is not just a metro phenomenon here at all," Rahul Purini, president of Crunchyroll saidin an interview.

The company is available as a D2C (direct-to-consumer) service across the web and app with both paid subscriptions as well as free, ad-led tiers. Currently, it has 500 shows and 3,800 hours of content for Indian audiences and is planning to add about 20-30 shows globally every quarter.

Globally, the service has over 24,000 hours of content. In India, other than a two-week free trial, there are two subscriptions available—for 79 and 99, both per month. The latter offers additional features such as offline viewing and more simultaneous streams.

Purini said the platform has about 11 million paying subscribers worldwide. As far as India-specific figures go, there are 118 million users watching anime content across linear and digital platforms with 53 million estimated to be watching on official sources and 20 million paying for such programming.

The company does not disclose India-specific subscriber numbers. “We don’t consider anime a genre, but a medium that has something for kids as well as adults. However, our focus is on teenagers, young adults and adults, essentially in the 16+ age group," Purini said. Unlike the US, where viewer base is split 50:50 into male and female viewers, Crunchyroll’s Indian viewer base is split in favour of males in a 60:40 ratio. Most viewership is for more than 60 minutes and Hindi dubs of shows see two-and-a-half times more adoption than English dubs, he said.

While all content is available with English dubs, the platform is increasingly bringing in Hindi dubs, along with more experiments in languages like Tamil and Telugu.

To be sure, Japanese animation is gradually finding favour with Indian audiences. Films like Suzume, which surpassed 10 crore in Indian box office sales earlier this year, are building on the popularity of anime on television screens. While TV shows such as Doraemon, Shin-Chan and Naruto remain favourites, industry experts recognize that Japanese anime fills a unique void in the country, appealing to not only young children and teenagers but also adults.

“Our focus (on a specific style of programming) is our strength. Rather than being something for everybody, we want to be everything for somebody. And we don’t want to stop with streaming (anime), we’re looking at films, apparel, merchandise, events as well as gaming," said Purini.

The company which has a vast licensing and merchandising business globally, plans to tap into the same along with partners in India, Purini added.

It has also roped in actors Rashmika Mandana and Tiger Shroff as brand ambassadors for the service.

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Lata Jha
Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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Updated: 22 Jul 2023, 12:19 AM IST
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