AMC Networks has announced the purchase of Houston, Texas-based Sentai Holdings, parent company of anime licensor Sentai Filmworks. The acquisition comes amid great change in the U.S. anime market.
Here are the details:
- AMC Networks has completed its acquisition of Sentai Holdings, including all of the member interests from Cool Japan Fund, Inc., a public-private Japanese investment fund. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Sentai’s executive management team of John Ledford, Griffin Vance, and Paul Clinkscales, will continue on in senior roles.
- Cool Japan Fund invested $30 million in Sentai in 2019, saying at the time that the company’s “independent status makes it a rarity in North America as a licensor of Japanese anime.” It added another $3.6M in 2020.
- Sentai has licensed thousands of hours of content, including series like Made in Abyss, K-On!, Akame ga Kill, and Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, and films such as Clannad and Grave of the Fireflies.
- Importantly, it is home to anime streamer Hidive, which will join AMC Networks’ portfolio of niche streaming services. Other units include Sentai Studios, which oversees localization, subtitling, and dubbing.
- AMC Networks (no relation to AMC Theatres) is home to cable channels including AMC and IFC, and streamers like AMC+, horror-focused Shudder, African-American-focused Allblk, and arthouse-focused Sundance Now. It is projecting 20–25 million paid streaming subscribers in total by 2025.
- Sentai founder Ledford said in a statement:
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. I could not be more pleased.
- AMC Networks’ interim CEO Matt Blank said:
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. 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.
- Last year saw major consolidation in the U.S. anime market, when Sony’s Funimation acquired Crunchyroll from AT&T, bringing the two biggest anime streamers under one roof. Meanwhile, mass-market streamers like Netflix and — more recently — Disney+ have entered the space.
Image at top: “Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul”