AMC acquires anime licensor Sentai Filmworks, streaming platform HIDIVE

Girls Und Panzer Das Finale

Specialty television and independent film distributor AMC Networks announced that it has acquired Sentai Holdings from Cool Japan Fund, bringing the American anime licensor Sentai Filmworks and its exclusive streaming platform HIDIVE under the cable and streaming company’s corporate umbrella.

The acquisition furthers AMC’s streaming strategy, which according to AMC’s press release, aims to reach 20-25 million paid subscribers by 2025 across all services. The company has augmented its cable lineup (including BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, WE TV, and IFC Films) with services including AMC Plus, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK. 

With the acquisition of Sentai, AMC now owns the anime streaming service HIDIVE as well as the VOD network Anime Network. HIDIVE exclusively streams Sentai’s catalog, which includes notable titles like Made In Abyss, Food Wars!, Clannad, Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, K-On!, and Girls und Panzer.

HIDIVE launched in 2017 after acquiring the discontinued Anime Network Online’s assets and in 2018 the service began creating dubs via Sentai Studios. HIDIVE joined VRV in 2018 after Funimation, newly acquired by Sony, exited from the streaming partnership, but left the platform earlier this year after VRV’s parent company Crunchyroll was bought in turn by Funimation.

AMC bought Sentai’s subsidiaries from the Japanese government’s public-private company, Cool Japan Fund, which invests in strengthening Japanese culture overseas. The company had invested $30 million in Sentai, according to the Cool Japan Fund website, to “contribute to Japanese anime and related merchandise having an increased presence in the North American market.”

AMC Networks Interim CEO Matt Blank said, via the press release:

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.

Sentai founder John Ledford added: 

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.

Sentai’s executive management will remain in place.