Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, Arashiyama, Kyoto. Nov. 2015.
Friday, November 13, 2015
By ROLAND KELTS
Back in the Stone Age of streaming media, the most notorious and popular of pirate anime websites suddenly went legit. In January 2009, after securing distribution agreements with Japanese studios and a licensing deal with TV Tokyo that included episodes of the global hit series Naruto Shippuden, the San Francisco-based fansite Crunchyroll banished all illegal content and started offering paid-subscription packages.
In three years, the site turned a profit and began funneling earnings back to Japanese producers. In 2013, Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin’s investment arm, The Chernin Group, acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll to the tune of an estimated $100 million.
This did not go unnoticed. Media giants like Hulu and Netflix leaped onto the streaming-anime bandwagon, with the latter’s CEO Reed Hastings announcing earlier this month plans to co-produce anime titles in the near future. So called over-the-top content (OTT) — online, on-demand and delivered via ISPs by third-party outlets — is the now and future of global media.