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Hasbro to handle Pokemon in U.S.

[tokyo] U.S. toymaker Hasbro has landed the rights as the major licensee for Nintendo's Pokemon characters. A number of companies battled for the U.S. rights to Pokemon merchandise, which racked up a stunning $4 billion in sales in Japan over the last 18 months. Hasbro is expected to launch products for the 150 Pokemon (Japanese for "pocket monsters") this fall in the U.S. The Pokemon animated TV series will come to the U.S. in the fall, and Nintendo is planning a Pokemon game for its new Nintendo 64 due to arrive for Christmas. Pokemon products in Japan range from stuffed animals to food to yo-yos. Pokemon came to the attention of the world when 700 people across Japan were rushed to hospitals across Japan with symptom such as convulsions and nausea after watching an episode of the animated series using a rapid-fire editing technique.

Time targets int'l crowd for World Cup

[london] Time Inc. New Media has launched its first venture specifically targeting international markets outside the U.S. Its World Cup Web site ( is tied to the international soccer competition kicking off June 10 in France. Recent research found users of the Internet outside the U.S. now number between 120 million and 140 million. The Time unit is heralding this site as its "first ever truly global online project." In a simultaneous development, Nokia, one of the site's sponsors, has arranged to have match results and information transmitted to its mobile phones using its "Smart messaging" technology.

Havas' Sky Sites buys Ackerley

[london] Sky Sites, a subsidiary of Havas Media Communication, is to buy the assets of Ackerley Airport Advertising, the biggest airport advertising company in the U.S. Ackerley holds the ad rights in 70 U.S. airports with sales of $32 million over the last 12 months. Sky Sites operates in the U.S. and U.K. It generated sales of $50 million last year from the 11 sites in which it operates. "This transaction dramatically strengthens our position in this market," said Joe Evans, CEO of Sky Sites.

Disney Channel set for Philippines

[manila] Disney Channel will begin broadcasting on cable TV in the Philippines in the second half of the year, according to Edward Borgerding, senior VP and managing director of Walt Disney Television International-Asia Pacific. This will be the eighth Disney Channel outside the U.S. There are Disney Channels in Taiwan, the U.K., Australia, Malaysia, France, Spain and the Middle East. Italy, Germany and Latin America will follow.

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