Anime to Flip Switch on Linear Network

After building a following through video-on-demand distribution, upstart Anime Network is scheduled to launch Tuesday as a 24-hour digital network on Insight Communications Co. Inc.’s Columbus, Ohio, system.

Anime plans a launch event Tuesday at the Comcast Media Center in Littleton, Colo., where its signal will originate. Orlando, Fla., resident Janine Hwang, the winner of Anime’s national “Launch the Network Sweepstakes,” will flip the switch. She’ll also become the first nonanimated person to appear on the network.

Owned by A.D. Vision Inc., Anime debuted last year by supplying VOD titles to some Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable systems.

The network signed advertisers Atari, Nintendo of America Inc. and Capcom USA Inc. for spots on the 24-hour linear network.

After the Columbus launch, Insight is expected to expand Anime’s distribution to other digital systems by the end of the year.

Much of Anime’s schedule features edgy Japanese cartoons, some of which carry “TV-MA” ratings.

President Kevin Corcoran said its “Action Zone” block features “chicks with guns, beautiful women with deadly weapons; hard-charging tough guys.” Its “Super Happy Fun Time” late-night block will feature “more TV-MA stuff -- there’s a little bit of skin, a lot of incorrect comedy,” Corcoran said.

Other blocks include “Giant Robots,” “Girl Power” and “Old School,” which will showcase classic Japanese cartoons from the 1980s, such as G Force and Robotech.

Corcoran said Anime is close to reaching agreements to distribute the 24-hour network to two other major MSOs.

“The demand for the content is greater than could be supplied through a VOD offering,” he said when asked why Anime is pursuing distribution of a linear network rather than focusing solely on VOD distribution.