Funimation Entertainment, known for its library of anime content, is entering the streaming industry with FunimationNow.
FunimationNow, an advertisement-free streaming service for anime, is part of the company's presentation at CES 2016.
The new streaming platform, which will start to roll out early next month, will give its subscribers full access to HD anime content found in the expansive library of Funimation. Funimation's content includes 400 catalog and simulcast titles, both with dubbing and with subtitles, with popular anime such as "Attack on Titan," "Dragon Ball Z," "Fairy Tail," "Tokyo Ghoul," "One Piece" and "Space Dandy."
The anime streaming service will mark a new chapter in the history of Funimation, which has long been the leader in sales of anime DVDs in North America. For 2015, Funimation saw about 4 billion unique engagements over its physical, digital and other immersive channels, showcasing its wide reach.
Funimation has also recently unveiled Funimation Films, which released "Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F" in August of last year to theaters. The movie raked in over $8 million from the domestic box office within just eight days from being shown, which lands it among the top 10 anime movies with the highest gross sales of all time.
Now, after its foray into theaters, Funimation is looking to tap even deeper into its expanding pool of subscribers.
"We've been dealing directly with millions of fans for almost 20 years and we think FunimationNow is an incredible way of putting a whole new experience together for our anime fan base," said Funimation Chief Operating Officer Mike DuBoise in a phone interview with news website Mashable, adding that it was the company's fans that wanted Funimation to launch a streaming service.
Funimation entered into a partnership with Sony DADC New Media Solution to gain access to the former's Ven.ue platform, which will allow FunimationNow subscribers to watch programs that would be integrated across different platforms, screens and channels.
"Anime fans are ravenous group who have die-hard appreciation for content," said Andy Shenkler, chief solutions and technology officer at Sony NMS.
According to Shenkler, The Ven.ue platform was created to be the driving force behind the new generation of consumer experiences, as it unifies social engagement, video streaming and commerce into one destination. Shenkler added that the partnership with Funimation was a perfect combination of the platform and the desire of the anime company to push boundaries.
Funimation will be entering a highly competitive streaming service industry, though, despite its focus on anime content. Crunchyroll, which holds a massive library of Asian programs, has been offering a subscription service to customers with licensed programs since 2009, with the service now having about 700,000 paying users.
DuBoise, however, believes that FunimationNow will do well after its beta testing was held in 2015.
"We've ended up with a few hundred thousand subscribers and we're projecting almost triple that in 2016," DuBoise said, adding that the full potential of the strong subscriber base that it has built will be unleashed with the new streaming service.
The paid subscription plans for FunimationNow will have monthly price tags of either $4.95 or $7.95, with each plan offering different features. Interested customers can sign up for a free trial once the service officially launches.