Well, ain’t this a twist.
Sony TV Distribution (Formerly Columbia, Tri-Star, Screen Gems – which Sony Pictures still use in various forms) will now pretty much own lock stock and barrel – Funimation entertainment, the US distributors of the Dragon Ball Franchise and other anime.
Now there has been a lot of confusion about the future of Funimation – so lets clear this up:
First Issue – Sony has many different divisions. The US TV side of Sony bought Funimation for 147 Million. Now the confusion comes from the fact that Aniplex is owned by Sony. But folks that’s a different division. Its Sony Music. Japan. While under the same name – they have much different polices and structure. Now in theory something from Aniplex would have a much easier time because Same Corporation – shorter change fee, we all gravy. But that’s way far from the truth in practice.
Second Issue – The VRV service? No changes until the deal with AT&T and Time Warner goes through if it even does. That’s the big one. That effects Toonami more than this deal with Sony TV does and I care more what happens to Toonami than what happens to Funi at this juncture. What i do see, if the deal does go through – VRV dies or gets reformatted.
Third Issue – Sony will Change Funi? Not at the present moment. None of the projects Funi has done will end and at this time, no major changes will take place.
So why was the deal done?
Here might be one of the reasons – Union representation and the unavailability of Voice Actors/Actresses. One of the main reasons there is such contention with the genre – outside of its content (that’s a issue for another time) is the Voice Actors working non union jobs. Hollywood has been a Union town for decades and unions wither the fans like it or not tend to look down on non-union work. One of the reasons why the longest strike in recent memory have taken place is because the Unions want the share of the profits the Video Game industry has made over the years. There is also the case of where entry level actors are trying to get into Sag/Aftra and to other roles (or for larger actors to take smaller roles between work) – so this would make that aspect easier.
One of the other reasons may be that it might be a way to build up their syndication arms and their digital footprint, and possibly their movie division (yeah, outside of Spiderman and their deal with Disney – they don’t have much to go on and their successes have been…middling to bad for several years. The whole broadcast dub without a broadcast partner thing goes out the window because they have the opportunity to (or have a much easier time mind you) of getting broadcast deals with other stations. There are too many positives with this – but those positives can be negatives right quick.
Their will be more about this deal as it develops.