Crunchyroll will require a Premium subscription for seasonal simulcasts

Anime streaming service Crunchyroll has announced a major change to its ad-supported viewing model. Although non-subscribers could previously watch anime for free on the platform – albeit with mixed ads – this will no longer be an option when it comes to seasonal simulcasts. Starting with Crunchyroll's Spring 2022 anime season, new episodes will require a premium subscription to watch.

Crunchyroll will require a premium subscription for the simulcast anime

Illustration for Crunchyroll, which features Hime and says

Crunchyroll has released an update to its ad-supported streaming model, revealing that it will begin requiring a premium subscription to watch new and continuing simulcasts. This is a change of pace from the platform's previous offerings, which allowed non-subscribers to watch new episodes as part of its ad-supported viewing. They just had to wait a week after each installment ended.

With this new change, anyone wanting to watch anime releasing in Spring 2022 or later will need to sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription. In the US, Crunchyroll offers three membership tiers: Fan ($7.99 per month), Mega Fan ($9.99 per month), and Ultimate Fan ($14.99 per month).

According to the streamer, there will be an exception to the rule. However, this will likely encourage fans to upgrade to a premium subscription.

The streaming service will offer a “seasonal sampler”

Although Crunchyroll will now require a premium subscription for new episodes, it will make an exception. The platform will offer a “Seasonal Sampler,” making the first three chapters of some new anime free for a short time.

For the upcoming spring season, Crunchyroll will include the following shows in its sample:

  • Spy x Family
  • A couple of cuckoo clocks
  • The Witch's Dawn
  • Tomodachi Game
  • Skeleton knight in another world
  • Shikimori is not just a cutie
  • The greatest demon lord is reborn as a typical person
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Hard on Crowds

This gives viewers the chance to see if they are interested in the service's current simulcasts before signing up. The first three episodes of the series above will be available one week after their "subscription-only premiere". They will continue to stream for free with ads until May 31.

Will there still be free content available on Crunchyroll?

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Anime lovers might be sad to hear that Crunchyroll will require a premium subscription for the upcoming new episodes. However, there will always be free content available on the platform. The company noted that this change will not affect episodes that dropped before the Spring 2022 season. This includes series continuation (although new episodes will not be available for free starting in April).

In the update discussing the change, Crunchyroll also outlined its intention to continue offering free content:

“We want to encourage as many fans as possible to explore new shows and see all the benefits of premium access to Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll is making over 1,000 hours available to viewers for a free sample through our ad-supported tier, and will continue to offer free content in the future.

What that will look like may continue to evolve over time. Crunchyroll has certainly seen a lot of changes recently, especially after merging its library with Funimation's. Fans will have to stay tuned for more information on the streamer's future. But it certainly marks a big change as we approach Spring 2022.