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VIZ Media Expands Naruto Brand In South America

VIZ Media, LLC has signed up International Merchandising Consultants (IMC) as the merchandise licensing agent in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay for the smash-hit property NARUTO.

IMC has been a leading South American entertainment licensing company for a variety of cutting-edge properties for 27 years and will have the exclusive right to negotiate product licensing deals with local partners in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay for the NARUTO brand on behalf of VIZ Media. The company represents some of the hottest brands in the industry today, including a variety from Lucasfilm, Fox and Marvel.

The agreement lends even more momentum to the growing popularity of the NARUTO franchise throughout Latin America and further widens the overall international appeal of the property. Targeting tweens and teens, the animated series portrays the adventures of a young boy named Naruto Uzumaki, who trains to become a ninja. The series has captured legions of fans across North America, where it's seen weekly by millions on Cartoon Network and also on YTV in Canada.

The manga counterpart by Misashi Kishimoto will be licensed in Argentina to a local publishing house and the first volume of this highly anticipated manga series is expected to be released in the market in the first half of 2009.

VIZ Media has also licensed broadcast rights to various broadcasters in the region, including Cartoon Network Latin America (Pan-regional), Televisa (Mexico), SBT (Brazil), Televen (Venezuela), Chilevision (Chile), City TV Bogota (Colombia), America TV (Peru) and many others. In addition to this impressive list of broadcast partners, NARUTO has a broad merchandising program in several Latin American territories. Licensed categories include apparel, back-to-school, snack food promotion, toys, sticker albums, home entertainment and others.