A company representative confirmed with ANN on Friday that Funimation will shut down access to its FunimationNow streaming service for users in Australia and New Zealand on March 30. Funimation's streaming content will then only be available to users in those countries through AnimeLab. The representative stated that the transition gives users "access to hundreds of more titles in one place."
As of this week, FunimationNow's streaming content is available on AnimeLab. FunimationNow subscribers in Australia and New Zealand received email notification this week about FunimationNow's closure in those countries. The email included a code that allows users to subscribe to AnimeLab and receive two free months of the service. Users who choose not to subscribe to AnimeLab can receive prorated refunds for the unused portion of their FunimationNow subscriptions.
Sony Pictures Television announced on September 24 that it and Aniplex were consolidating three Sony-owned anime acquisition and distribution companies — Funimation based in the United States, Wakanim based in France, and Madman Anime Group based in Australia — into one joint venture. Madman Anime Group previously operated the AnimeLab service. Before the consolidation, Funimation was under Sony Pictures Television, while the other two companies were under Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Aniplex.
Colin Decker, who became Funimation's general manager in May, leads the joint venture. The joint venture operates under Funimation's name and acquires and distributes Japanese anime through the three component companies. Variety reported in September that the joint venture would cover 10 languages in 49 countries with about 300 employees.
Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in North American distributor Funimation for US$143 million in 2017. Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll in November 2018, and signed a first-look streaming deal with Hulu. In March, Funimation and Chinese streaming platform bilibili announced a new partnership to jointly acquire anime licenses "over the next few years." Funimation bought Manga Entertainment, which primarily distributes anime in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in May.
Madman Media Group sold the anime division of its business to Aniplex in an AU$35 million (about US$25 million) deal in 2019, after Aniplex invested in Madman Entertainment in February 2018.
In addition to Funimation, Sony owns the subsidiary anime production companies A-1 Pictures and CloverWorks through Aniplex. Aniplex established a Shanghai-based subsidiary in April with the intent of starting on "full-scale" Chinese animation production, as well as sell merchandise.
Thanks to Alex T for the news tip.
Source: Email and phone correspondence