Crunchyroll Will Attempt to Compensate Funimation Users for Loss of Digital Libraries

Crunchyroll Will Attempt to Compensate Funimation Users for Loss of Digital Libraries

In an increasingly perilous streaming and digital media landscape—where content is as quick to vanish into the ether as it is spread out across myriad services—Crunchyroll’s recent announcement it was entirely subsuming Funimation three years after it merged with its largest anime streaming rival by raising prices and wiping out digital libraries from invested users still stung. But after weeks of backlash, Crunchyroll says it’s trying to work on making amends.

“As we look at usage of [Funimation’s digital copies] and the number of people that were redeeming those and using them, it was just not a feature that was available in Crunchyroll and isn’t in our roadmap,” Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini told the Verge’s Decoder podcast about the decision to no longer support digital copies of shows and movies acquired through purchases of Funimation’s physical media releases—purchases that, up until very recently, Funimation had reassured audiences in FAQs would be able to be streamed “forever” (give or take a few Terms and Conditions caveats). The news was announced alongside Crunchyroll owner Sony’s confirmation that Funimation would officially shutter on April 2—a little overthree years after the media studio acquired Crunchyroll to fuse the two services into one of the largest homes of licensed streaming anime on the planet—as well as a significant price rise on subscriptions.

But in the same interview, Purini stressed, after weeks of backlash, that Crunchyroll was now moving to support Funimation subscribers in finding some means of compensation for the loss of their digital libraries. “[We] are working really hard directly with each [customer] to ensure that they have an appropriate value for what they got in the digital copy initially,” Purini said. “So it could be that they get access to a digital copy on any of the existing other services where they might be able to access it. It could be a discount access to our subscription service so they can get access to the same shows through our subscription service.”

Formal plans for the policy have yet to be rolled out, although Purini told the Verge that affected users are already reaching out to Crunchyroll customer services. Further investigation by the Verge’s Ash Parrish suggests that the rollout so far is currently scattershot at best, with inconsistent responses from Crunchyroll customer service operatives while trying to either access to lost material on other services or discounted subscription rates to Crunchyroll Premium. It’s a good step forward at least, should Crunchyroll more formally lay out its plans to compensate users beyond this initial exploration in the near future—but it only takes a little sharpness out of the sting reminding us all that digital media ownership is such a perilous endeavor in the first place.

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