After building a following through video-on-demand distribution, the upstart Anime Network last week launched as a 24-hour digital network on Insight’s Columbus, Ohio, system.
The network hosted a launch event last Tuesday at the Comcast Media Center in Littleton, Colo., where its signal will originate. Orlando, Fla., resident Janine Hwang, the winner of Anime’s national “Launch the Network Sweepstakes,” flipped the switch.
She also became the first non-animated person to appear on the network.
Anime signed advertisers Atari Inc., Nintendo Corp. of America and Capcom Co. Ltd. for spots on the 24-hour linear network. Anime will run 11 minutes per hour of national ads, but Insight isn’t selling any local commercials for the channel, according to president Kevin Corcoran.
After the Columbus launch, Insight is expected to expand Anime distribution to other digital systems by year-end.
In addition to generating attention from gaming company marketers, Corcoran said Toyota has said that it is interested in buying ads on Anime.
Owned by A.D. Vision Inc., Anime Network debuted last year by supplying video-on-demand titles to a number of Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable systems.
Much of Anime’s schedule features edgy Japanese cartoons, some of which carry a TV-MA rating. Corcoran said its “Action Zone” block features “chicks with guns, beautiful women with deadly weapons; hard-charging tough guys.”
Its “Super Happy Fun Time” late-night block will feature “more TV-MA stuff — there’s a little bit of skin, a lot of incorrect comedy,” Corcoran said.
Other blocks include “Giant Robots,” “Girl Power” and “Old School,” which will showcase classic Japanese cartoons from the 80s, such as G Force and Robotech.
Corcoran said Anime is close to reaching agreements to distribute the 24-hour network to two other major MSOs.
“The demand for the content is greater than could be supplied through a VOD offering,” Corcoran said, when asked why Anime is pursuing distribution of a linear network rather than focusing solely on VOD distribution.