Brady McCollum (pictured) is the head of business operations of Crunchyroll, the world’s largest destination for anime and manga, with a global community of over 40 million registered users and over one million subscribers. In this role, McCollum oversees international content distribution, consumer products, retail, events, marketing, and brand strategy for Crunchyroll.
McCollum joined Crunchyroll in 2008 and has held various leadership positions since the inception of the platform leading Crunchyroll’s international expansion into 7 new markets & commerce rollout among other key initiatives. Since Crunchyroll launched in 2007, the platform has grown to provide the most complete streaming anime library available, translated professionally in multiple languages across territories, as well as expanding to offer fans live events such as Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards, an online news destination, Crunchyroll News, and an online store.
Recently, Crunchyroll brought its content to linear audiences through a partnership with Brazillian broadcaster RBTV. This week we caught up with McCollum to discuss this push into linear and what it means for the streamer’s future strategy.
VIdeoInk: Crunchyroll has been experimenting with distributing content via traditional linear channels in Brazil. What led to this decision, especially given OTT’s growing popularity?
Brady McCollum: Historically, anime has been on television as a strong way to expand brand, build audience, and increase awareness. Brazil and Latin America are some of our largest and fastest-growing markets, and experimenting with TV distribution in this area is a way for Crunchyroll to achieve a number of key objectives related to OTT growth. First, it allows Crunchyroll to build brand awareness as a licensor of Japanese anime content. Second, it establishes Crunchyroll as a credible media entity in Brazil. Finally, it allows Crunchyroll to better serve the anime community in this area. At Crunchyroll, we’re always looking for ways to connect our fans through the content they love, and expanding our linear TV presence in Brazil will bring both new and existing fans together daily to enjoy their favorite shows.
What are your thoughts on Crunchyroll partnering with networks in the US as it has done with Brazil’s RBTV? How does the potential/linear audience differ?
We are seeing incredible demand for our content around the world, and we are working on ways to bring Crunchyroll to more fans on more networks globally, including the US. Linear television gives our audience a unique opportunity to watch together and to talk about their favorite shows in sync and we’ve even seen online discussions hit trending status during broadcasts.
Crunchyroll has been steadily growing its presence on social platforms. It recently partnered with the YouTube channel RocketJump and also launched a short-form show on Facebook Watch. What have you learned about social video since these partnerships took effect?
Crunchyroll has an active, engaged fan base across social platforms, with about 26M followers in aggregate, and each has their own preferences and behaviors. We’ve had enormous momentum engaging users through social video based on our expertise with each platform and also what makes for both great content and a great viewing experience. However, new product launches like Facebook Watch and IGTV are changing up the landscape and we are excited to lean into new opportunities for testing more varied content on each platform.
What unseen challenges does incorporating social video into a content strategy bring?
As social platforms evolve and get more sophisticated, we keep building our resources and attention to each individual platform. Our focus on editorial and production specifically for social media has grown and we are staffing people with very specialized skills. We know that one poor-performing social post can really pull us back a few steps, so the stakes are higher to get Crunchyroll content right and be more selective on what gets shared.
Crunchyroll has successfully built a loyal following on its OTT platform, it has pushed deeper into social video through partnerships and content production, and it has expanded into commerce and events. What’s next for the company?
Our mission is to super-serve fans with a 360-experience on their terms and across mediums, whether it be streaming their favorite show, participating in activation experiences or owned events like our upcoming Crunchyroll Expo, owning a delightful product from their favorite series, engaging with anime fans across social platforms, or even playing Dan Machi: MEMORIA FREESE, our mobile game. While we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far, we’re still in early innings and have more work to be done to expand and enhance these capabilities to deliver even deeper experiences to our current and future audiences.