Crunchyroll will no longer be allowing non-premium users to watch episodes for free one week after the release, the Sony-owned company announced. With a few exceptions, each simulcast in the upcoming Spring 2022 season will require a paid membership, and ad-supported viewing will no longer be an option.
The shows that are exempt from this change will now only offer the first three episodes as “viewing samples” that will include ads. In Spring 2022, the free episodes will be available until May 31, after which they will also require a premium membership. The titles that will have these sample episodes are:
- Spy x Family
- A Couple of Cuckoos
- Dawn of the Witch
- Tomodachi Game
- Skeleton Knight in Another World
- Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie
- The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody
- Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs
The announcement doesn’t touch upon what will happen to non-simulcast shows or if seasonals will become available after they are done airing. Some recent titles, like Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc are still premium only.
The news comes only weeks after Funimation and Wakanim announced that they are unifying with Crunchyroll, which is set to become the world’s largest anime streaming service. Sony’s Funimation officially acquired Crunchyroll in August of last year. At the time, many concerns were raised due to what is perceived as Sony’s monopoly on the anime streaming market in the west, since Crunchyroll also owns VRV. Currently, the only real competitor Crunchyroll has when it comes to simulcasts is HiDIVE, with Netflix and Amazon Prime trailing behind in weekly releases.
Crunchyroll is using the opportunity to promote its premium membership plans, which currently come in 2 tiers. The platform is in the progress of moving Funimation and Wakanim’s libraries over to its own platform. However, not everything that was available will move to Crunchyroll, as other companies, led by Sentai Filmworks (HiDIVE’s parent company) own the licenses.
Featured image courtesy of Crunchyroll.