Things sure have changed in the way we watch anime ever since its inception. It used to be that anime could only be watched illegally through fansubs as the concept of legal online streaming never crossed anybody's mind. Then came Crunchyroll to become the first streaming service to stream anime the way it is today. I could go on and on about how this was the solution that saved the anime industry, but that's not the point of this blog.

What this is about is to outline the cost of watching all the simulcasts with so many other streaming services wanting a piece of the anime fandom community pie. For many seasons, having just a Crunchyroll and Funimation subscription would allow you to watch everything. But now, other streaming services are stepping in throwing money to claim exclusive rights to selected shows, which is getting frustrating. It's great to see that anime's profile is getting bigger and bigger with more companies taking interest, but at the same time it's frustrating to see everything so spread out. Now, there is Daisuki, Hulu, Anime Network, Netflix, and just recently Amazon has entered the arena.

While I'm not an expert in this kind of stuff, I will explain what happens when these companies get exclusive rights. Basically, companies are hoping to generate business and consumer interest in whatever way they can. Companies will pay quite a lot of money if they want to get exclusive rights to a particular show as by restricting the rights, consumers wanting to watch the show have no choice but to buy a subscription from that one company (or watch stuff on the dark side, which I'm not going to get into with this). From the producer's standpoint, they command a lot more than non-exclusive rights because they need to be compensated for the fact that they have no choice but to turn reject any offers by other companies to purchase the rights. Non-exclusive rights are much cheaper, but that means it's possible for someone else to also have the rights to the show and if a particular company has a better profile, the majority of consumers are going to go to that place, and thus for that particular company their profit margin isn't going to see much, if any, of a boost. So putting this in terms of how Amazon got exclusive worldwide rights to all of Noitamina's shows going forward, Amazon payed a ton of money to Fuji TV and it is believed to be the biggest ever deal for anime streaming rights. From Fuji's perspective, it's an offer they couldn't refuse seeing that it pays the full cost of production with change left over, and one of the conditions for this huge payday is that only Amazon can carry the streaming rights inside and outside Japan. And from Amazon's perspective, they are seeing this as an opportunity to gain new subscribers to Prime among anime fans who haven't been using Amazon Video. Also, with Amazon being one of the richest companies in the world that they can afford to make such an investment whereas it would be too cost-prohibitive for the likes of Crunchyroll and Funimation. Similar deals have been made by Hulu and Netflix, albeit on a smaller scale. Anyway, I could go into more detail about this, but again I'm no expert in business.

So with this, I am going to break down all of the streaming services and get an estimate of how much it would cost you to give everybody an idea of how much our wallets are bleeding with the emergence of new companies entering the exclusive anime streaming business. Seeing that America has it all that I'm speaking from an American perspective as most of us here are from the USA. It used to be that many of these places were just another place to watch anime. But now, these places are daring us to subscribe or miss out on watching those shows. So in estimating these costs, I'm rounding everything up to the next dollar amount for the sake of simplicity and the final cost will be a few pennies off.


Subscriber Plans: Premium ($7/month, $60/year), Premium+ ($12/month, $100/year)
Cost Per Month: $5 (P, annual), $7 (P, monthly), $8.33 (P+, annual), $12 (P+, monthly)
Exclusive Titles: Too many to list
The place that started it all is Crunchyroll, and they are everything an anime fan wants, especially this season when many of the highly anticipated shows are in their hands. They get every show they can possibly get whether it be something popular or something that everybody brushes off as just a kids show. That said, this is definitely the preferred place for anime simulcasts. They have a regular membership that allows complete access to all anime when it comes, and then there's the premium plus membership with some bonus perks that not everybody has use for.

Subscriber Plans: Sub Pass ($5/month, $40/year), All-Access ($8/month, $60/year)
Cost Per Month: $3.33 (Sub, annual), $5 (Sub, monthly), $5 (AA, annual), $8 (AA, monthly)
Exclusive Titles: Too many to list
It used to be that Funimation had a crappy player that nobody would subscribe to them. But after fixing their player and switching to the same subscriber-exclusive policy that Crunchyroll has starting with the Winter 2014 season, they have a subscription service that's just about on par with Crunchyroll's. While anime is the only thing they offer with the subscriptions (as opposed to manga and drama that Crunchyroll has), you have access to all subbed and dubbed content whereas with Crunchyroll, very few dubs are available and for the shows you want to watch dubbed, you would have to go to different places. And then Funimation has embarked on the broadcast dub initiative, which is another perk of this subscription. Lastly, if watching simulcasts is all you want, there is the Sub Pass that will allow same-day simulcast viewing and to watch all subbed content in HD.

Subscriber Plans: None, all shows are completely free to watch
Exclusive Titles: Monogatari Second Season*, M3, The [email protected]: Cinderella Girls*, God Eater*, Kuroko's Basketball season 3*, Iron-Blooded Orphans*
(* Indicates that the show was available elsewhere at a later date)
Daisuki came along as just another place to watch anime, and then they got into the exclusive business to draw in viewers. Their player was pretty bad back when it was first launched, but they have since fixed it that at the very it will play flawlessly the majority of the time. It has a reasonable small ad load, and it used to be that the same commercials with ear-piercing audio came on during breaks, but now all of the ads are anime-related. Anyway, it used to be that Daisuki-exclusives were a bad thing, but not anymore seeing that the player works better and it's free.

Anime Network
Subscriber Plans: $8/month, $20/3 months, $80/year
Cost Per Month: $8 (monthly), $6.67 (3 months and annual)
Exclusive Titles: Onigiri
Anime Network is Sentai's own subscription service that includes dubs to all Sentai titles. The only reason for signing up for this service is to watch Sentai dubs without buying the BD, but now they are getting into the exclusive business as well with Onigiri, which thankfully is a title not many people are interested in. But this could become a disturbing trend if the TAN exclusive stuff is brought back like what they did with TBS shows before they ditched their ways in Spring 2013. Navigating through the website is such a pain seeing that you are automatically logged out after a certain time period of inactivity, and now only Paypal is accepted as a method of payment. In other words, this website is buggy, at least the last time I subscribed back in January.

Not Anime-Specific

Subscriber Plans: Limited Ads ($8/month), No Ads ($12/month)
Cost Per Month: See above
Exclusive Titles: Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Most Viz shows (no subscription required)
And now, here is Hulu, which has the most reliable streaming player among all of these services. It used to be that Hulu was just another place to watch anime, but now they have gotten into the subscriber-exclusive business. Their subscriptions are more expensive than with the other places seeing that this service was created with all of the popular sitcoms and other mainstream shows that are watched on the big four networks during prime time in mind and you still have to deal with ads with the cheaper plan. And then there's the issue of availability as Hulu is only in the US and Japan. In the past, one good thing about subscribing to Hulu is that it serves as an alternative to the Funimation Sub Pass, but it looks from this season forward they won't have everything available to watch, at least from the start as this season only Assassination Classroom and My Hero Academia were available to watch from the premiere date, while several other shows this season didn't get added until later.

Subscriber Plans: SD Only ($8/month), HD ($10/month), Ultra HD ($12/month)
Cost Per Month: See above
Exclusive Titles: Knights of Sidonia, Seven Deadly Sins, Ajin, Kuromukuro, Perfect Bones
Netflix has recently entered into the exclusive business as well, but unlike the other places their shows are only available for binge watching after the show finishes airing. On the flipside, they dub all of their exclusive titles, so at the very least that's one benefit to having a show exclusively streaming on Netflix. Seeing that there is no Ultra HD anime available at this time that there's no benefit to paying extra for this perk if watching anime is the only reason why you want to subscribe to Netflix.

Amazon Prime
Subscriber Plans: Prime ($99/year, $11/month), Amazon Video Only ($9/month)
Cost Per Month: $8.25 (annual), $9 (video only), $11 (Prime, monthly)
Exclusive Titles: All Noitamina Shows from Spring 2016 onward (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Battery, The Great Passage, Scum's Wish)
The latest entry into the exclusive simulcast business is Amazon Prime, a service that not many people knew had anime until they made a big splash paying a boatload of cash to Fuji TV for full exclusive rights to their shows. Unlike with the other services, there are many things that will lead to complaints and all other gripes in that Prime is prohibitively expensive for those who just want to watch one show and there's no alternative way of watching them, at least not yet. Then there's the price of a subscription seeing that it is geared towards those who buy stuff frequently from them, and there are only annual memberships. And the other big gripe is that they control the rights in places where Prime doesn't exist denying fans in those countries the right to watch something that some other service would have normally gotten for them. To address those issues, they have introduced monthly plans and a subscription service that allows subscribers to watch videos only for those who are budget-conscious as they are gearing up to take on Netflix.

So now, I will calculate the total cost of being able to watch everything assuming that all services have at least one show that's exclusive to them on a monthly basis. On the low end, here is what you can expect to pay:

Crunchyroll: $5 (annual Premium)
Funimation: $3.33 (Sub Pass)
The Anime Network: $6.67 (three months)
Hulu: $8 (Limited Ads)
Netflix: $2.67 (SD, cost is for one month seeing that they don't do weekly simulcasts)
Amazon Prime: $8.25 (Prime, annual)
Total: $33.92

On the high end:

Crunchyroll: $12 (monthly Premium+)
Funimation All-Access: $8 (monthly All-Access)
The Anime Network: $8 (one month)
Hulu: $12 (No Ads)
Netflix: $3.33 (HD, cost is for one month seeing that they don't do weekly simulcasts, and anime isn't available in Ultra HD yet)
Amazon Prime: $11 (Prime, monthly)
Total: $53.58

Now, on the optimal end where annual memberships are in store for Crunchyroll and Funimation, while it's debatable about whether or not you care about an ad-free experience on Hulu or not. But seeing that Funimation offers a lot more to the anime fan than just simulcasts that I'm going with an all-access subscription, while the benefits of a Crunchyroll Premium+ benefits don't really appeal to many of us.

Crunchyroll: $5 (annual Premium)
Funimation All-Access: $5 (annual All-Access)
The Anime Network: $6.67 (three months)
Hulu: $8 (Limited Ads)
Netflix: $3.33 (HD, cost is for one month seeing that they don't do weekly simulcasts)
Amazon Prime: $8.25 (Prime, monthly)
Total: $36.25

And below is a graphic posted by Daiz on his Twitter account. It doesn't reflect the fact that some of these are annual memberships and that Netflix stuff doesn't appear until after the season, but you get the idea of how much it costs to watch simulcasts these days with the number of places getting involved.