With their recent purchase of Sentai, the Houston-based anime distributor whose holdings include well-known anime distributor Sentai Filmworks and the streaming service Hidive, AMC Networks has officially become the latest Western entertainment entity to make a play at the rapidly-growing market of anime fans.
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Announced on January 5th, the acquisition will see Sentai’s licensed anime offerings – such as Akame ga Kills!, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Redo of Healer – join AMC’s ever-growing library of niche content.
The purchase will also put Sentai’s aptly named localization and recording studio, Sentai Studios, under AMC’s direction, as well as all member interests of Cool Japan Fund Inc, a Japanese investment fund who has so far invested roughly $33 million in the anime distributor.
Further, Hidive will now join AMC’s lineup of niche content streaming channels, which currently include the horror-centric Shudder and indie-oriented Sundance Now.
Alongside the announcement of Sentai’s purchase, AMC also affirmed that by 2025 they expect to reach between 20 million to 25 million paid subscribers across its various services.
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Sentai’s executive management team – currently consisting of Griffin Vance, Paul Clinkscales, and founder John Ledford – are expected to continue on in senior roles following the full transition of the company’s assets from their possession to AMC’s.
In a statement, Ledford asserted, “We are thrilled by AMC Networks’ acquisition and are excited to be a part of their growth strategy.”
“This acquisition will not change Sentai’s mission to deliver the most exciting anime content to audiences around the world — it will expand it greatly and will give our content businesses more distribution, more partnerships, more scale and more reach,” he added. “I could not be more pleased.”
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Further, AMC Networks interim CEO Matt Blank said of the purchase, “With a seasoned team, strong content and direct-to-consumer offerings for fans around the world, Sentai is a key global player in anime.”
“This acquisition builds on AMC Networks’ already strong IP and franchises, and furthers our targeted streaming strategy of super-serving passionate audiences with content depth, curation and community,” he concluded. “With the addition of Sentai, we see an even greater opportunity to build on AMC Networks’ position as the global leader in targeted streaming, as we continue to grow a sustainable and long-term profitable streaming business that will be transformational for our company.”
As noted above, AMC’s buyout is but the latest move made by a major entertainment company to enter the burgeoning Western anime market.
Last year, Crunchyroll was acquired from AT&T by Sony’s Funimation, consolidating two of the biggest American anime streaming services under a singular banner.
Taking a different path, both Netflix and Disney have also begun to produce their own exclusive anime series, resulting in such experimental releases as Ultraman and Star War: Visions, respectively.
What do you make of AMC Network’s purchase of Sentai? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!