Cartoon Network Starts Anime Broadband Venture
'Samurai Jack' and 'Naruto' Part of Time Warner Web Play
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Anime and action cartoon lovers are about to get an injection of programming formerly unavailable in the U.S., thanks to a joint broadband TV venture between Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network and San Francisco-based anime licenser VIZ Media.
The Web play is a prime example of how consumers are benefiting from the explosion of broadband-oriented programming -- they're able to choose from a deeper offering of niche content -- and how the resulting media fragmentation is changing the advertising outlook.
The service, titled Toonami Jetstream, launches July 17 and will provide on-demand full-length streaming episodes of current domestic hits such as "Naruto" and "Samurai Jack" as well as new-to-the-U.S. programs "Hikaru No Go," "MAR" and "The Prince of Tennis." Turner, which is part of Time Warner, will sell advertising on the offering.
Anime is one of the Web's hottest genres -- a search for it on YouTube.com brought up about 55,000 results. Incidentally, this is Cartoon Network's second time streaming anime series online. In 2001 the network launched a project called Toonami Reactor on CartoonNetwork.com with episodes of "DragonBall Z" and "Star Blazers," among other anime series. The service also included games, music and videos but was a bit before its time as broadband penetration was low.
Drive interest to network
Now, with the widespread availability of broadband connections, Cartoon Network executives expect the climate is primed for such a service. While the broadband network will live on its own separate URL, toonamijetstream.com, Paul Condolora, senior VP-general manager of Cartoon Network New Media, expects the service will build interest in the overall popularity of the Toonami Saturday night programming block on Cartoon Network and bring new fans to the action and anime genre.