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Sony TV Launches Anime Channel in Germany

Sony Pictures Television Int'l (SPTI) announced that its anime channel, Animax, is set to launch in Germany. The announcement was made following the signing of an agreement with Unity Media, the first distribution partner for Animax in the country. The channel will commence broadcasting from early June 2007 and will be available to digital pay-tv subscribers in the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, which have more than five million cable households. Further roll out of the channel through other distribution partners is to follow over the coming months.

Animax will be the first and only TV channel in Germany focusing exclusively on anime programming. The channel is targeted at the tech-savvy 15-29 youth market. Closer to launch, SPTI will confirm the programming lineup on the channel, which will run 24 hours a day and will include many genres such as comedy, horror, romance, crime and sci-fi. Animax is already a firmly established brand name in Asia and Latin America and is one of SPTI's most successful channels, airing in 36 million homes in 38 countries and in 11 languages.

Ross Hair, SPTI's svp, international networks, said, "We have ambitious plans for the roll-out of our Animax brand across Europe and today's announcement of our Germany launch marks the next stage of those plans. We believe there is significant potential for a dedicated anime channel in Germany and for the delivery of anime content cross-platform."

Also commenting, Parm Sandu, ceo of Unity Media, said, "As a dynamic cable network operator in one of Europe's core economic regions, Unity Media is partner of choice for many content providers. We believe that Animax will be a success in the German market and that the channel will make our digital program offering even more colorful for our subscribers."

The growing appetite for anime is particularly noticeable in the increased terrestrial airtime in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK - all markets in which SPTI is actively exploring opportunities to establish the Animax brand on TV, mobile and as a VOD service. SPTI already has a successful anime channel in Central Europe, which the company recently announced is being re-branded to Animax. The channel has more than four million subscribers in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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Rick DeMott
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