AMC Networks Acquires ‘Made in Abyss’ Distributor Sentai and Anime Streamer HIDIVE

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AMC Networks has acquired Cool Japan Fund’s anime content distributor Sentai and its assets, including niche subscription streaming service HIDIVE.

Sentai’s anime-centric direct-to-consumer platform will join AMC Networks’ lineup of targeted streaming services, which includes AMC Plus, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

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Those digital offerings are in addition to the company’s linear channels AMC, BBC America (a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films.

Per AMC Networks, “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.”

Japanese anime is a hot commodity these days, with major players like Sony Pictures Entertainment recently loading up on assets in the genre, one that has a large and vocal global fanbase and convention culture. Sony’s Funimation group closed its $1.175 billion cash purchase of anime business Crunchyroll from AT&T last August.

Aside from HIDIVE, Sentai’s brands include SentaiFilmworks.com, Anime Network and Sentai Studios. Among Sentai’s large catalogue of anime titles are “MADE IN ABYSS,” “Akame ga Kill,” “Food Wars!,” “Clannad,” “Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?,” “High School of the Dead,” “Girls & Panzer,” “No Game No Life,” “K-On!,” “Assassin’s Pride” and “Parasyte -the maxim-.”

Along with its announcement of the Sentai-HIDIVE acquisition, AMC Networks said Wednesday it expects to reach between 20 million to 25 million paid subscribers across its streaming services by 2025. The company had previously estimated it would hit a combined nine million paid subs by the end of 2021, but has not yet confirmed if it reached that goal.

Sentai’s executive management team of founder John Ledford and Griffin Vance and Paul Clinkscales will continue on in senior roles as the brand moves under AMC Networks. The company’s purchase of Sentai includes all of the anime distributor’s member interests from its former parent company, Japanese investment fund Cool Japan Fund.

“With a seasoned team, strong content and direct-to-consumer offerings for fans around the world, Sentai is a key global player in anime,” AMC Networks interim CEO Matt Blank said. “This acquisition builds on AMC Networks’ already strong IP and franchises, and furthers our targeted streaming strategy of super-serving passionate audiences with content depth, curation and community.”

Ledford added: “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. I could not be more pleased.”

(Pictured: “Made in Abyss”)

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