Sony Group turning to its anime streaming service, Crunchyroll, as a major growth catalyst, according to the head of its movies division. As anime’s popularity surges globally, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) CEO Tony Vinciquerra emphasised Crunchyroll’s crucial role in the company’s future during a strategy briefing on Thursday.

“Crunchyroll will be our main growth engine at SPE for the foreseeable future,” Vinciquerra stated. Although Sony is widely recognised for its contributions to movies, gaming, and music, it also holds significant sway in the anime sector through Aniplex, the studio behind the hit series “Demon Slayer,” and Crunchyroll, which boasts 13 million subscribers worldwide.

The rise of the internet and streaming platforms has broadened anime’s reach, allowing global audiences to access a genre that was once niche outside Japan. This trend has led major entertainment companies to invest heavily in popular anime franchises. Industry projections indicate that the anime market could nearly double to US$60 billion by 2030. In line with this growth, Crunchyroll is expanding its presence in Southeast Asia and India via Amazon Channels, a platform that integrates various streaming services into Amazon’s (AMZN.O) interface.

Unlike some of its competitors, Sony does not operate a general entertainment streaming service. Instead, it prides itself on being an independent content provider, a position it believes offers a competitive edge amid rapid technological changes in the industry. Earlier in May, Reuters reported that Sony was eyeing the assets of US media company Paramount Global (PARA.O) to potentially enhance its portfolio of franchises.

“Our aim is to acquire more intellectual property, more content, and expand our library for distribution,” Vinciquerra explained when discussing the company’s investment strategy.

In a notable shift in its strategic direction, Sony abandoned a planned merger with India’s Zee Entertainment (ZEE.NS) in January. The merger would have created a $10 billion enterprise, highlighting Sony’s dynamic approach to growing its entertainment business.

As Sony continues to capitalise on the booming anime market, Crunchyroll stands at the forefront of this expansion, poised to drive significant growth and solidify the company’s position as a global entertainment powerhouse.