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AXN toons up anime sibling Animax.

SINGAPORE Sony Pictures Entertainment's action and adventure AXN channel is welcoming a sibling to Asian pay TV--5-month old Animax, the first 24-hour anime cartoon channel launched outside of Japan.

Sony Pictures Television Intl. (SPTI) newly promoted senior veep and managing director' Asia Todd Miller denies that Animax is a spinoff, describing it as "very much a channel in its own right with so much potential to be a market leader in Asia--on par with AXX."

Anime was once an AXN staple, but Miller denies that Animax is cannibalizing content or auds. "Anime does not have the role on AXN it had back in 1997" when it bowed, says Miller, "due to the increased strength of U.S. content over the past few years."

AXN's action and adventure remit has been built on show's like "Fear Factor," "CSI" and a version of "Who Dares Wins" created for India.

With 24-hour distribution in 31 million homes and daypart in 40 million homes in China, AXN is way ahead of Animax, entering at a time of a capacity crunch in many markets.

Its 4 million homes in Japan aside, Animax has signed up 1.6 million homes in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia sinces its bow in January.

Animax will be distribed in India by One Alliance, a Sony-Discovery joint venture.

"We are employing an aggressive rollout strategy for Animax," says Miller, "but this is not a kids channel and we're aware there's a lot of competition out there."

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Title Annotation:Asia; new cartoon channel
Author:Osborne, Magz
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:May 31, 2004
Words:248
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