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Crunchyroll is doing away with free simulcasts starting with the spring season

Why it matters: Nobody likes ads, but if it’s a choice between giving yet another TV service your credit card or watching ads because the provider only has one show you enjoy, most likely, you’ll tolerate the ads. That is, as long as the service continues offering an ad-supported option.

On Friday, anime streamer Crunchyroll announced it was removing simulcast content from its ad-supported tier. To continue watching new episodes of a series, viewers must lay down at least $8 per month or more for one of Crunchyroll’s premium tiers.

Previously, the free tier had ads, and episodes were on a one-week delay compared to premium subscriptions, which gets them an hour after the episode debuts in Japan. It was a fair compromise for getting to watch shows that would otherwise not make it to Western countries.

Under Crunchyroll’s restructuring, customers watching for free will have access to a “season sampler.” Viewers can watch the first three episodes of select shows for free with ads and with the same one-week delay. If they want to continue watching the entire season, they must subscribe.

Also, there is no guarantee that your favorite series will be in the sampler. The first sampler debuts this spring, featuring eight shows.

  • Spy x Family
  • A Couple of Cuckoos
  • Dawn of the Witch
  • Tomodachi Game
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World
  • Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie
  • The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs

Viewers also only have until May 31 to watch the first three episodes of the shows in the sampler. After that, users require a subscription for any content except for episodes already aired before the change. It also did not state when or if new content would roll into the ad-based tier.

It’s worth mentioning that Sony acquired Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion last summer. As you may be aware, the company is also currently preparing to restructure PlayStation Plus. Under the new three-tier subscription service, users will have to start paying month-to-month instead of having a discounted annual subscription rate. That plan could kick into effect as early as this week.

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