Crunchyroll tailoring its subscriptions to better serve global markets

Crunchyroll is a juggernaut—perhaps the juggernaut—in anime streaming. If Crunchyroll Expo in San Jose (which celebrated its fourth year from August 5-7) didn’t underscore this point, then perhaps the first ever Crunchyroll Expo in Melbourne, Australia does.

Crunchyroll isn’t resting on its laurels, however, and has been dialing in its business model in 100+ countries. Crunchyroll recently announced slashing subscription prices in 95 of its markets, following a prior decision to reduce its ad-supported offerings. Of the 95 countries Crunchyroll reduced prices in, Interpret took a closer look at a few such as Brazil and India. Interpret likewise looked at a few of the markets where Crunchyroll isn’t reducing prices—namely the US, France, and Australia.

The rationale for not reducing prices in the US, France, and Australia is fairly intuitive—there simply is no need. France saw massive growth in Crunchyroll use from 2020 to 2021 alongside a high willingness to spend on anime streaming services. The US saw more modest growth, but both already have a considerable share of subscribers relative to most other markets. Australia saw both a high share and high growth. These more mature markets where Crunchyroll is well established allow the streaming platform to focus less on adding new subscribers through price reductions and more on better monetizing and serving existing subscribers. It is no surprise that two of these markets now have Crunchyroll Expos.

The price reduction in India is likewise supported by Interpret’s Animeasure data. Crunchyroll saw little growth in this market from 2020 to 2021 despite a small market footprint. Looking at how much the average Indian anime viewer spends on anime streaming, it is clear that at its previous price of $9.99 USD per month, Crunchyroll was simply far too expensive. The new price—about $1.25 a month—should be a better fit for Indian pocketbooks while allowing room for those fans who might be interested in upgrading to more premium tiers.

Brazil seems to be doing well in terms of market share and growth, so the reduction in price of the premium tier is likely to offset the change to the ad-supported tier. Brazilians report spending a bit more on anime streaming but, like Indian fans, should be more comfortable with the new price point (under $4).

There are still plenty of anime viewers reluctant to spend for an anime-specific streaming service but Interpret will be on the lookout for the impact of the price reductions in 2022 and beyond. Based on our data, we expect to see an uptick in paying subscribers.