Territory report: Japan

Japanese companies looking to sell rather than buy

TOKYO — As domestic competition among animation houses grows intense, and broadcasters consider more stringent purchase policies under the prolonged recession, most Japanese companies will be at Mipcom Junior to sell rather than buy children’s programming.

One of the few buying orgs is Japan Entertainment Network (JEN), the Japanese wing of Cartoon Network, which broadcasts a variety of imported cartoons to its 2 million-plus viewers. Keiko Izawa, president of JEN, says his company will look for quality five-minute animated projects that appeal to kids and adults.

Megapubcaster NHK will be searching for strong half-hour teen shows for its two terrestrial, two analog satellite and three digital sat channels, according to multimedia development director Norio Ishii.

Most others will be focused on screening products at Mipcom Junior and Mipcom, because they believe the latter will have more substantial buyers, according to Satoji Yoshida, exec director of the international division of TMS (producer of animated series such as “Detective Conan” and “Monster Rancher.”)

Most of the networks, movie studios or big animation houses like Nippon Animation, Toei Animation and Tsuburaya Production will not be attending Mipcom Junior this year.

TBS Service, the program sales subsidiary of Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, will screen its 52-episode half-hour show “Super Doll Rikachan,” a Japanese counterpart to Barbie, and 26 episodes of half-hour cartoon “Koni, the Giant Boy,” about retired Hawaiian sumo wrestler Konishiki.

Shogakukan Production, the org behind “Pokemon,” is bringing “Hamtaro,” a half-hour series about a hamster family, which was carried by TBS until July.

GD Holding, which will be at the kids mart for its second year, will screen six titles including “Zaion,” a sci-fi robot combat toon, and the futuristic fairy tale “Prettier.”

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