Crunchyroll is a successful, global digital company serving a niche audience: anime fans. And thanks to Gao, it has expanded into 160 countries and offers programming in 8 different languages—within hours of original broadcast in Japan. How’s that for a window! In the past 12 months Crunchyroll saw an additional 250,000 paid subscribers, bringing its total number to nearly 750,000. Gao sees bundled SVOD playing in the industry’s future, “both in the form of skinny bundles and offerings catered to specific audiences.”
What does the multiscreen experience look like in 3 years?
In 3 years, users will have greater freedom and mobility in how they want to bundle and unbundle across all premium content. There will be thoughtfully curated offerings that speak to not just content, but also lifestyle, allowing streaming platforms to actively engage with fans before, during and after the final scene of a show. Geography and access restrictions on content will be much less of an issue as well.
How do you keep yourself and your team engaged and informed on the changing multiscreen universe?
We’d like to think that we are driving innovation with a unique, new wave of digital media by focusing on a passionate audience. This is incredibly energizing. We keep our ears to the ground through open and active dialogue with partners, SVOD strategists and engineering experts. The SVOD/OTT industry is a small world!
To what degree will measurement factor into multiscreen monetization in 2016?
In 2016, I think bundled SVOD plays will emerge, both in the form of skinny bundles and offerings catered to specific audiences. This year will be more about getting to product/market fit, understanding your audience and using audience data to drive programming and curation decisions.
What are your 3 go-to apps?
Uber for on the go, Boom Beach to keep in touch my friends through casual gaming, and, of course, Crunchyroll to watch the latest anime.
If you had to spend a month in the virtual reality, what would your environment be?
I’d want to engage in amazing, unimaginable experiences that would otherwise be nearly impossible in person. I would climb to the top of Everest, and then relax on the beach, all in the same day. I’d condense the richness of the collective human experience into something I could share with my friends, an idea deeply rooted in Crunchyroll’s core as I want fans to actively engage with the content and community.