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Sony Pictures Japan Sells Anime Channels Animax and Kids Station to Nojima

In a Strategic Shift, SPEJ Divests from Cable Anime Broadcasting, Focusing on Online Distribution with Crunchyroll
Japan
n 7419.TSE s 6758.TSE Blue Chip 150 Consumer 250 Mid and Small Cap 2000
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In a landmark move, Sony Pictures Japan (SPEJ) has announced the sale of its two prominent anime specialty channels, Animax and Kids Station, to electronics retailer chain Nojima. This deal, disclosed on December 19, 2023, signals a significant shift in the landscape of anime broadcasting in Japan.

Animax and Kids Station, with a combined reach of approximately 14.3 million households, have been key players in the domestic anime scene. SPEJ, currently holding majority stakes in both channels, is transferring its ownership to Nojima’s newly established AK Entertainment, a subsidiary of AXN which operates other specialized channels under Nojima.

This strategic divestiture is part of a complex transfer mechanism involving the creation of AK Media, which will initially inherit all shares and employees of the two channels. The completion of this transaction is set for April 1st, with the transfer price yet to be announced.

Notably, SPEJ is acquiring shares from other stakeholders in Animax, including Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment, Bandai Namco, and ADK, consolidating ownership before the sale to Nojima. Kids Station, with a history distinct from Animax, will also see its management transferred under this deal.

Nojima, traditionally known for its electronics retail business, has been gradually expanding into the broadcasting sector. With this acquisition, it now owns five channels, including AXN and AXN Mystery, previously acquired from SPEJ. The company anticipates synergies between these channels, leveraging the expertise of former Sony Pictures executive Masao Takiyama.

Meanwhile, the Sony Group is undergoing a strategic pivot in its approach to anime broadcasting. The conglomerate has been divesting from traditional cable and satellite channels to focus on online distribution. This shift is exemplified by its acquisition of Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service with over 12 million paid members globally. Sony’s strategy appears to consolidate its anime business around Aniplex domestically and Crunchyroll internationally, reflecting the growing importance of internet distribution in the entertainment industry.

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