Nikkei Asia are reporting that Sony has entered into final negotiations to acquire Crunchyroll, the major competitor to it's own Funimation streaming service.
Sony has been aggressively targeting the anime market since it's 2017 acquisition of Funimation. Under Sony's influence, UK distribution partner Anime Ltd was hurriedly dropped (leading to a panicked stock sell-off) while Funimation acquired former partner and pioneering UK distributor Manga Entertainment to handle it's UK operations. This paved the way for many of the UK company's titles to be streamed on Funimation, as well as providing a corporate springboard for all of Funimation's physical releases.
An acquisition of Crunchyroll would add 70 million free (and 3 million paid) members to the 1 million subscribers at Funimation. A further 1,000 licensed shows would also become available, creating possibly the largest repository of online anime in history.
With Crunchyroll creating its own content, and Netflix also opting to generate wholly-owned IP like Eden, it's likely that the market for licenses will become highly competitive in coming years.
Nikkei's report credits The Association of Japanese Animations with the following figures:
In 2018, the global anime market was worth approximately $21 billion dollars, 1.5 times the size of the same market in 2013. The overseas market accounts for half of that demand.
This likely explains Manga Entertainment's deluge of articles on representation in anime on it's website (such as this one by Timi Ofarn), as well as Managing Director Jerome Mazandarani's spirited Facebook comments defending the globalisation of the anime industry. He will, it seems, be at the vanguard of the new anime world order.