While Netflix continues to add more anime to its streaming offerings, Crunchyroll remains the top dog of streaming anime providers. However, in order to maintain its lead and offset the increasing cost of running a streaming business, Crunchyroll is instituting its first-ever price hike.
In the U.S., the price of a monthly subscription will rise from $6.95 to $7.99, or from $60 to $80 for annual subscribers. However, current monthly members will reportedly be able to keep their rates for another three months, while annual subscribers will get the luxury being locked into their current $60 plan for an additional year.
Unlike Netflix, which has been gradually raising its subscription fees for the past few years, Crunchroll’s new price hike would be the first of its kind since the streaming service launched in 2006.
While a paid subscription isn’t required to watch shows on Crunchyroll, it does give you full-library access, the ability to avoid commercials, and earlier access to shows that are currently broadcasting in Japan. Aside from anime, Crunchyroll also hosts live-action dramas from Japan, South Korea, and other countries that include anime spin-offs and various Asian soap operas.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson from Crunchyroll said, “Crunchyroll has the world’s largest collection of anime and we are grateful to have focused on building out such a robust library for over the last decade, without a significant price change in our company history.” The statement continues: “However, due to rising costs of content and infrastructure, now is the time to introduce new subscription pricing. This price increase will help us bring our community more of their favorite shows, allowing us to create even more experiences for them to connect with each other and through shared passion for anime.”
Currently, it’s unclear how Crunchyroll’s price increase will affect VRV, which is a separate but related streaming service, the premium subscription of which includes access to a channel featuring content from Crunchyroll.
Hopefully, by raising its price, Crunchyroll will be able to avoid the same fate as Anime Strike, Amazon’s unpopular anime streaming competitor that was forced to shut down in early 2018 after only about a year in operation.