Crunchyroll has entirely redesigned the streaming experience on web browsers for Premium subscribers, and the platform’s new design is rolling out in beta today for some customers.
The Crunchyroll Beta adds a couple of heavily requested web browser features: an updated homepage with an easier to navigate layout, more intuitive search capabilities, and a new tool called Crunchylists for creating curated lists.
Eligible Crunchyroll Premium subscribers can opt in by clicking on a header image that appears at the top of the website. The beta is currently only available to 20 percent of all Premium users in the US, but it will eventually roll out to all Premium and free tier subscribers. The company is planning to share more information when it’s available.
Let’s start with the homepage. The new homepage feels much more akin to other streaming services in terms of layout and organization by relying on personalized recommendations. There are both dynamic recommendations and curated recommendations.
These sound similar but are ultimately different. Dynamic recommendations are specifically tied to someone’s watch history. For example, because you watched Dr. Stone, you may enjoy Black Clover or The Rising of the Shield Hero. Curated recommendations are based around a theme. One example is “sports time, all the time” and includes shows like Hanebado, Eyeshield 21, and Iwatobi Swim Club.
Similar to other platforms, these recommendations appear in rows on the homepage that people can cycle through. The layout is reminiscent of HBO Max, which includes rows based around popular series (“the Friends collection”) or personal recommendations based on what someone has watched.
The new homepage also makes it easier to find ongoing watchlists, or specific show pages, all of which have been redesigned to make it more user-friendly. In an effort to make the newly designed Crunchyroll more user-accessible, changes to the search function — including accessing simulcasts, new anime, and filtering through subtitled or dubbed options — are also rolling out with the beta.
All of the new designs seem focused on making Crunchyroll feel more personal. Subscribers can now create their own unique usernames and choose from an assortment of avatars and header images based on their favorite series — another mainstay of streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.
Subscribers will also be able to use the new Crunchylist feature, which simply allows people to make their own curated lists. This allows you to choose any series or episode from a specific show to a list and organize it however you like. For example, if there’s a definitive way to watch the various Gundam series, this could be one way to turn that into a customized, personal experience.
Every major media company is trying to get into streaming, and every popular streaming service — Crunchyroll has more than 4 million paid subscribers — is trying to figure out how to stay on top. Making it easier to find something to watch and hopefully convincing people to spend more time on Crunchyroll, through product changes that make it a better experience overall, is one way to accomplish that goal.