Anime Subscription Service Crunchyroll Launches Two New Membership Tiers

The freemium model now includes a free tier, the original $7.99 tier and two new tiers.

WarnerMedia-owned anime subscription service Crunchyroll announced that it is adding two new membership tiers to its freemium model. Crunchyroll will still have a free tier that offers ad-supported streaming access to members who will also receive new simulcast episodes the week after they debut. Premium members can now choose from one of three paid tiers, including two new options, the Mega Fan and Ultimate Fan packages.

“Crunchyroll will soon have new ways for anime fans to experience its constantly expanding library, with the addition of new membership tiers. Combined with additional platform features – including offline viewing – it will soon be even easier to enjoy anime anywhere and at any time,” said Crunchyroll in their August 24 announcement.

Crunchyroll's anime subscription service adds two premium tiers to the service, providng anime fans with even more options to watch their favorite shows.
Crunchyroll’s anime subscription service adds two premium tiers to the service. Image courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Details of each plan can be accessed at Crunchyroll.com. Here is a brief summary of what’s included in each tier.

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Fan – $7.99 a month after a 14-day free trial

Crunchyroll’s initial premium tier is now called the Fan plan. It provides an ad-free experience to Crunchyroll’s anime library with more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes, including simulcast series the same day they air in Japan. Fans also get access to Crunchyroll’s catalog of digital manga, available in English.

Mega Fan – $9.99 a month after a 14-day free trial

This new tier provides the same features as the Fan membership tier, as well as the ability to view content offline and access up to four concurrent streams. Mega Fans get first access to special Crunchyroll Expo events and lotteries, which are expected to start in 2021. As a special bonus, the Crunchyroll Store offers Mega Fans $15 off any purchase of $100 once every three months.

Ultimate Fan – $14.99 a month after a 14-day free trial

If you can’t get enough of Crunchyroll’s anime subscription service, the Ultimate Fan package has it all. In addition to everything mentioned above, Ultimate Fans can access six concurrent streams. They’ll also receive an annual Ultimate Fan member swag bag, members-only access to select merchandise like a limited-run Hime Nendoroid figure, and a $25 discount off purchases of $100 once every three months.

Crunchyroll anime episodes of shows like One Piece, Black Clover, Naruto Shippuden, Dragon Ball Super and Mob Psycho 101 can be streamed on desktop, mobile, gaming consoles and other streaming devices including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Xbox, Roku, PS4, Chromecast and Fire TV.­­ Crunchyroll made the official announcement, but they noted that updates to the iOS and Android apps may take a little longer. Updates to the anime subscription service will be rolled out to other countries in early September.

Crunchyroll hits major milestone – 3M paid members

In late July, Crunchyroll announced that it had reached 3 million paid users and has more than 70 million registered users.

“Crunchyroll’s global growth has been incredible. We launched in 2006 and it took us about 10 years to hit one million subscribers. It took us only two years after that to break two million, and even less than that to hit three million subscribers where we are today. But, we don’t just measure success based on paying subscribers. We have an active and growing AVOD community of over 70 million registered users. Our goal has always been to grow the love of anime globally, and these numbers show our labor of love is paying off–and this is just the beginning,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll.

Is Crunchyroll for sale?

In related news, Variety reports that WarnerMedia may be considering a sale of the anime subscription service for an estimated $1 billion. While WarnerMedia has not confirmed the validity of the rumor, parent company AT&T wants to sell Crunchyroll to pay down debt. Sony, the owner of Funimation, is a potential buyer, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Insider Take

Using 3 million paid subscribers as a baseline, at $7.99 a month, Crunchyroll is currently making about $287.64 million a year in recurring revenue at the lowest priced premium tier. This does not include advertising revenue generated by the ad-supported tier. If any of the current subscribers upgrade their anime subscription service to a higher tier or if anyone new signs up, that revenue will increase. This would make Crunchyroll a good asset for WarnerMedia to hang onto if they want to be in the anime business. If they don’t, they better make sure they get their money’s worth for a potential buyer, because these new revenue generating opportunities could potentially make Crunchyroll a lot more valuable.

A sampling of Crunchyroll anime shows. Image courtesy of Crunchyroll.