Although the company has been streaming anime for a while up to this point, the new ad-free anime streaming service from Funimation gets a release date, making its capabilities available for smartphone users. But people shouldn’t get their hopes too high up, because the new Funimation Now app will function more or less the same as its previous installments, with new features being promised to come along the way in 2016.
It is currently up for discussion why Funimation chose to rebrand itself if one would take into account that the company has been providing anime streaming services for a couple of years. Just a couple of months ago, the gaming console Xbox One got a Funimation app as well. But gaming consoles in general, as well as Roku users, will get the updated service only in May 2016, even if iOS and Android users will be able to benefit from Funimation Now starting with this February.
One of the possible reasons why the company made this move would be that Netflix and Crunchyroll currently overthrow it in almost every aspect. This is especially true for Netflix, a service that has become available for every country on Earth. Crunchyroll has increased benefits as well, besides not being limited to viewers from NA only, providing a plethora of anime episodes and movies, various mangas, and Japanese drama series.
Although this rebranding may help Funimation in regards to relevance and public interest, it is unclear if just switching the name would be enticing enough for the demographic to choose its streaming services over other options. Its price is also an important factor, with Crunchyroll providing a much more varied selection of animes for a lower monthly cost.
Over four hundred anime series will be available for viewing on the newly redesigned app, with fan favorites like Tokyo Ghoul, One Piece, Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail being available in both subbed and English-dubbed versions. But one must take into account the fact that other services provide most of these anime series as well, making the Funimation option rather uninviting.
In regards to the new app, besides brandishing a new logo, it will have a much more sleek design and an increase in performance as well, for tablet and smartphone users. Besides the improvements to the smartphone and gaming console apps, a Windows 10 Universal app will surface in February as well, accompanied by Airplay and Chromecast features. These will allow the general public to use their TVs as veritable anime streaming machines with the help of their phones.
Even though the new ad-free anime streaming service from Funimation gets a release date, odds that the Funimation Now app will become as popular as Netflix, Hulu or Crunchyroll apps are rather low due to its rather limited demographic. If the company will eventually move to other regions besides NA in the future, chances are that Funimation will get a rather hefty boost in user numbers, as well as profits. Only time will tell if anime fans will elect this new service instead of the aforementioned more popular services.