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Toying with the TV

Nelvana brings Japan's 'Beyblade' to U.S.

TORONTO — Kidvid company Nelvana, a division of Toronto-based Corus Entertainment, has inked a deal to bring the popular Japanese “Beyblade” toy line and small-screen sensation to North America.

Nelvana and Tokyo-based D-rights, a division of Mitsubishi, recently signed a deal giving Nelvana broadcasting rights for all 51 half-hour episodes of the “Beyblade” animated action-adventure series, as well as homevideo rights for the series and toy distribution rights.

Series concerns a boy who harnesses the power of his ancestors to perfect his technique in the sport of Beyblade. Setting cross-marketing on its head, skein is based on a toy, a wildly popular spinning top that children build from four individual components, with which they then use to face off in a ring; winner is the last Beyblade top spinning. The Beyblade phenomenon has parents and kids in Japan lining up at stores to await shipments.

Agent for product line

As part of the deal, Nelvana is also acting as exclusive agent importing and distributing the Beyblade product line, the most recent portion of which was launched in December in Chicago and Los Angeles by Hasbro; it’s expected to become available in the rest of the U.S. this month. Nelvana will also be the exclusive agent importing game software by licensee Hudson and Broccoli.

The deal’s territories, bought outright, include North and South America, Europe and Australasia (excluding Italy, Greece, Turkey and Arabic-speaking countries). Terms were not released, but the Japanese toy developer Takara has said it expects Beyblade to earn $95 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending this March.

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