Sony, Mitsui Launch New Joint Company to Oversee Animax, Kids Station Channels

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
New AK Holdings company to expand into global anime market, host events around the world

Japanese satellite channel Animax announced on Thursday that its parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ) established a new joint venture company called AK Holdings in partnership with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. on February 13. AK Holdings will officially launch on March 31. SPEJ has a majority stock in AK Holdings.

AK Holdings will serve as the management company for both Animax and Mitsui's Kids Station channel, and will produce and distribute anime. The new company plans to expand into broadcasting live anime-related events, and also open anime-themed restaurants. AK Holdings also plans to host events around the world, and generally expand into the global anime market.

Masao Takiyama, who is the managing director of SPEJ Television Network, will head AK Holdings.

Animax was founded as a subsidiary of SPEJ in May 1998, and as of September 30 it is being broadcast in more than 8.6 million homes in Japan. Other shareholders in Animax aside from SPEJ include Sunrise, Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment, and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).

Kids Station was founded in April 1993, and as of September 30 it is being broadcast in more than 8 million homes in Japan. Mitsui owns a 67% stake in Kids Station, and Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, Jupiter Telecoms, and the agency HoriPro own the other 33% between them.

The entertainment website The Hollywood Reporter stated that Animax and Kids Station are the "two most-watched dedicated anime channels in Japan."

Animax has a presence in 28 countries. The Animax Asia channel launched in January 2004, and it broadcasts anime to "58 million homes across 17 markets in Asia," including in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Animax Asia also airs simultaneous broadcasts with Japan for some anime. The channel also hosts the Animax Carnival events in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Animax UK launched as a streaming video on demand service in the United Kingdom in fall 2013, and it streams anime online for computers, mobile devices, tablet devices, and through apps on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Sources: Variety (Mark Schilling), The Hollywood Reporter (Gavin J. Blair)

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