Funimation streaming app to shut down, purchased content to be deleted

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Anime streaming company Crunchyroll is shutting down the Funimation app in April, with users set to lose the shows they’ve purchased.

The latest in a string of shake-ups announced by streaming companies, anime specialist Crunchyroll has announced that it’s to shut down its Funimation website and app. The anime currently hosted on that service has been folded into Crunchyroll’s own platform, meaning numerous titles will still be available for purchase.

The sticking point for existing Funimation customers, however, is that the media they’ve already bought and downloaded won’t be supported by Crunchyroll. This means that, when the Funimation service ends on the 2nd April, all those purchases will be lost.

It’s a story that first came to our attention thanks to EposVox on Twitter/X. They highlight a section on Crunchyroll’s website, which states, “Please note that Crunchyroll does not support Funimation Digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported.”

Given that much if not all of Funimation’s media will also be hosted on Crunchyroll, it’s unclear why users who’ve already purchased a show or film can’t be given some sort of redeemable code so they can download them again on Crunchyroll’s own service.

In IGN’s coverage of the same story, we can see that Crunchyroll has provided detailed instructions for merging or migrating Funimation accounts over to Crunchyroll, which includes porting data across. Why can’t there be some kind of system in place that ensures loyal customers who’ve spent their money on buying media – rather than pirating it – aren’t out of pocket?

The simple answer, of course, is that there are currently no legal protections in place for purchasers of digital media. So if platform-holders don’t feel like refunding users for the money they’ve spent, or giving them a means to re-download the stuff they’ve bought, they don’t have to.

Once upon a time, Crunchyroll and Funimation were two separate companies, before it was announced that they were to merge in March 2022. Funimation has therefore been on borrowed time for almost two years, with the flow of new anime to the service officially switched off around the time of that announcement.

Funimation joins the likes of TalkTalk’s film store and Google Play Movies in the digital platform graveyard; customers who’d spent money on the TalkTalk service also lost access to film and TV stuff they’d purchased, with the company behind it refusing to provide refunds.

There are clear advantages to purchasing digital media, not least their convenience. Unfortunately, customer protection isn’t one of those advantages.

Read more: If media companies want us to embrace an all-digital future, don’t we consumers deserve protection?

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