- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
AMC Networks, the company behind The Walking Dead home AMC along with other networks and niche streaming services, has acquired Houston-based anime distributor and streamer Sentai Holdings.
The company, led by interim CEO Matt Blank, unveiled the news after the market close Wednesday, but didn’t disclose financial terms. The deal includes Sentai’s holdings of Cool Japan Fund, a Japanese public-private investment fund.
Sentai is a global supplier of anime content and merchandise. Its brands include the anime-focused HIDIVE subscription streaming service. Sentai’s brands also include e-commerce platform Sentai Filmworks, cable SVOD service Anime Network and Sentai Studios, which provides localization and studio services.
“With strong industry relationships and access to key content creators in Japan, Sentai distributes and curates one of the anime industry’s most diverse libraries of top trending and classic titles, with its content available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Amazon Prime, among others,” AMC Networks stated. “Sentai’s HIDIVE streaming service represents a strong new addition to AMC Networks’ portfolio of fast-growing targeted offerings.”
AMC Networks has said it was targeting to end 2021 with more than 9 million streaming subscribers and reach 20 million to 25 million streaming subs by 2025. Management has said that over that time frame, streaming would also become the company’s largest revenue segment.
AMC Networks’ targeted “boutique” streaming services include horror-centric Shudder, art house-focused Sundance Now, movie service IFC Films Unlimited and AMC+, its “best-of” streaming bundle with content from AMC, Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited.
The company also previously acquired streamers from mogul Robert Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment, namely Acorn TV, which focuses on British and international mysteries and dramas, and Black series and film destination ALLBLK, formerly known as UMC.
Japanese anime is “a rapidly growing entertainment category, with a highly-engaged global fanbase propelled by its unique aesthetics and evangelical fans, convention culture and increased online accessibility,” AMC Networks noted.
“With a seasoned team, strong content and direct-to-consumer offerings for fans around the world, Sentai is a key global player in anime,” said Blank. “This acquisition builds on AMC Networks’ already strong intellectual property and franchises, and furthers our targeted streaming strategy of super-serving passionate audiences with content depth, curation and community.”
Sentai founder John Ledford, along with executives Griffin Vance and Paul Clinkscales, will continue on in senior roles.
Said Ledford: “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.”
AMC Networks is in “a great position with several notable strategic advantages,” including its smaller size that allows it to benefit from the “beauty of small numbers,” Blank had said in November. It was the former Showtime Networks chief’s first public appearance since he took on the job at AMC Networks to succeed longtime CEO Josh Sapan who decided to move to the role of vice chair after a 26-year run.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day