India is a vast landscape where diverse cultures co-exist. A vibrant subculture that has been steadily growing over the years and captivating the hearts of millions, is the love of anime. What started as a niche interest has blossomed into a passionate fandom that transcends age, region, and language barriers. Japanese animation has found a special place in the hearts of Indian audiences. Catering to this growing demand, Crunchyroll found a base in India in 2023 and has been on an ambitious mission to expand its footing in one of the biggest South Asian markets.
What is Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll has significantly impacted the world of anime and Asian dramas. Founded by Kun Gao and James Lin in 2006, Crunchyroll has become a go-to destination for millions of anime enthusiasts worldwide, providing them with a diverse library of anime and manga content. Crunchyroll is a collaboration between two distinct Sony entities, namely Sony Pictures Entertainment and Aniplex. It became one of the biggest assets that legally streamed East Asian content to international audiences.
Over the years, Crunchyroll has acquired a vast and diverse library of anime series and films from various studios and production houses in Japan. This includes classics like Naruto and One Piece as well as other releases like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia. With an ever-expanding catalogue, Crunchyroll remains at the forefront of providing both classic and contemporary anime content to its users.
The Community building aspect of Crunchyroll
One of the factors that set Crunchyroll apart is its commitment to simulcasting, which involves releasing episodes shortly after their original airing in Japan. This feature allows international fans to watch the latest episodes of their favourite anime at the same time as Japanese viewers, fostering a sense of global community among anime enthusiasts.
Furthermore, Crunchyroll’s dedication to accessibility is evident through its availability in multiple regions and multiple languages, making it a truly global platform that connects anime fans from diverse backgrounds.
Crunchyroll in India
Crunchyroll recently entered the Indian market and has already gained a massive audience, with more than 30 million viewers nationwide. As the only dedicated anime platform in the country, Crunchyroll boasts an extensive library of 500+ titles, with over 100 of them available in Hindi through dubbing and subtitles.
Gita Rebbapragada, the Chief Marketing Officer of Crunchyroll, emphasizes their focus on positioning themselves as the ultimate home for anime fans. Unlike general entertainment streaming services, they aim to cater specifically to anime enthusiasts, striving to offer everything that an anime fan would desire.
To enhance its content offerings, Crunchyroll plans to introduce 40 new series and 200 hours of content by the end of 2023. A significant portion of these additions will be available not only in Hindi but also in Telugu and Tamil, catering to the diverse linguistic preferences of Indian viewers.
India holds significant importance for Crunchyroll’s growth strategy, with the company projecting that 60% of its overall growth will come from the Indian market in the next three years.
Notably, Crunchyroll typically relies on passionate anime fans rather than celebrities for marketing purposes worldwide. Community building remains at the core of its marketing strategies. However, in the Indian market, they have chosen to collaborate with Rashmika Mandanna and Tiger Shroff, not only because they are top actors but because both of them are avid anime enthusiasts. As brand ambassadors, these actors will share their love for Crunchyroll’s anime shows and characters, further engaging the Indian audience and fostering a sense of community among anime fans in the country.
Crunchyroll’s journey from a user-uploaded video platform to one of the leading streaming services in the anime industry showcases the power of adapting to changing market demands and embracing a dedicated community. With its vast library of anime and manga content, the goal of the company to capture the Indian market does not seem far-fetched but rather achievable. As Crunchyroll continues to serve as a gateway for enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the captivating world of anime, its influence on the anime industry is likely to remain a pivotal force.