Sony pencils in Animax bow in Latin America

Toon feevee set to start in July

MIAMI — With a growing pay TV market in Latin America, Sony is the latest feevee programmer to launch another network in the region.

Animation feevee Animax will bow in July, Sony Pictures TV Intl. senior exec VP for international networks Andy Kaplan told Daily Variety.

Launch reflects good prospects for the channel in the region and is part of larger effort to roll out SPTI pay TV nets worldwide, Kaplan said.

“We launched Animax in January of 2004 in 1 million homes. It is now in over 21 million” in Asia, he said.

Latin America is the first area outside Asia to get the channel.

Sony already operates the general entertainment Sony Entertainment Channel and action-oriented AXN. HBO Latin America handles distribution for SET and AXN and will pick up Animax as well.

Based on carriage accords already signed with satcasters DirecTV and Sky and major cablers in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, Animax will bow in 5 million homes as a basic service in Latin America, said SPTI senior veep of international networks T.C. Schultz.

SET and AXN each reach 13.5 million in the region, Schultz said.

Schultz predicts a good response from the target demo of people 12-25, or what he terms “the PlayStation group.”

Animax’s demo skews older than those of existing animation webs Jetix and Cartoon Network in Latin America, he said. “But a lot of the top shows on those channels are anime,” he said. “We thought the opportunity was right.”