In its most massive deal for anime programming to date, Hulu inked an exclusive first-look pact with Funimation to distribute new anime shows starting in 2019.
This multi-year agreement grants Hulu a first look at U.S. streaming video on-demand rights to future anime series licensed and produced by Funimation. It also makes the two companies the co-exclusive destinations to certain new subtitled anime series, which will be available for streaming at the same time as their Japanese release.
Lisa Holme, Hulu’s vice president of content acquisition, said that the streamer’s goal is to get more than 20 seasons of new anime series simulcast, plus dubbed versions per year. “What this partnership brings us is the highest volume of high-quality anime hits, day and date when they release in Japan,” Holme said. “We had a high degree of confidence in Funimation’s ability to execute — to get the biggest, best, noisiest anime.”
Though Holme refused to reveal which anime titles Hulu and Funimation are looking at, she mentioned that bidding with Japanese anime studios is currently ongoing. “[But] we do have some pretty big titles from Funimation on Hulu already, and to extent they have future seasons [so] those are obvious targets,” Holme explained.
As of the moment, Hulu and Funimation are the only platforms in the U.S. to stream all subbed and dubbed episodes of top anime shows including Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, and Tokyo Ghoul.
All told, Hulu offers nearly 400 anime titles and claims to have the most expansive anime library among non-anime-specific streaming platforms. Some of the popular anime titles included in Hulu’s catalog are Naruto Shippuden, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, One-Punch Man, Sailor Moon, and Sword Art Online.
Besides its strong anime offering, Hulu also streams thousands of episodes of premium animated content, including Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, American Dad!, South Park, Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Adventure Time and a lot more.