4Kids Entertainment announced
it will close its Summit Media Group
buying unit at the end of the month, marking the end for a key player in Pokémon
's success across North America.
The move reflects 4Kids's ongoing push away from anime licensing, a direction it stressed
in its 2005 year-end report.
"The winding up of our media buying business will enable 4Kids to further reduce costs and to focus on the core businesses of 4Kids, merchandise licensing and television production and distribution, and on the development of digital content," said 4Kids Chairman and CEO Alfred Kahn
in a statement.
4Kids's 8-K form
reveals Beacon will give 4Kids $2 million in payments or media buying services over the next few years as part of a settlement over an unfair competition lawsuit by Summit. 4Kids also agrees not to compete with Beacon in the media buying services business. In the first quarter of 2006, Summit posted a net loss of $213,577.
Launched in 1992, Summit was heavily involved in the Pokémon franchise
, syndicating the show in America and internationally.
When Summit first marketed Pokémon
for local syndication in December 1997, USA Today's
Denise Gellene wrote, "Local broadcasters were skeptical of a series about an unfamiliar character that could strike out with kids--like Bandai America
's 'Sailor Moon
' show and toys did a few years ago."
In April Kids WB announced Pokémon
would no longer be a part of its Saturday morning schedule, ending a continuous run that began
in February 1999. Pokémon
currently airs on Cartoon Network
, where the show's ninth season will premiere