Anime Network’s Linear Move

Anime Network plans to rely on its home-video and magazine-publishing businesses to help market the launch of its 24-hour linear channel on Insight Communications Co.’s digital tier in June.

Unlike some other startup digital-cable networks — which debuted as pure cable brands — Anime has built a following through parent company ADV Films, which markets Anime DVDs and magazines through retail stores and other outlets.

Anime president Kevin Corcoran said the network will trumpet the Insight launch next month through signage at Musicland stores that carry Anime DVDs.

“I think that’s one of the things that we can bring to the table is the marketing and promotion of a new network,” Corcoran said.

Anime Network debuted in 2003 on video-on-demand platforms on some Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable systems. Anime boasts that on Comcast’s free on-demand platform in Philadelphia, it ranks consistently as the No. 1 network in terms of views per user.

“Our results on video-on-demand have been very, very strong, and we think that proves the point for a linear network,” Corcoran said.

Anime’s programming consists entirely of Japanese comedy, action, science-fiction and martial arts cartoons, including edgy programs intended for adult viewing. Its overall target is men 18 to 34.

Corcoran said Anime’s linear channel would feature “thousands of episodes,” but that much of the content will be repeated for new viewers.

“We experienced this with video-on-demand. You start with one system, a limited geographic area, and as it rolls out where there are new people who have never seen what you broadcast the first 30 days or the first 60 days,” Corcoran said.

ADV Films has national advertising deals with brands such as Toyota, Nintendo, Sony and Altoids. Corcoran said Anime Network is pitching those advertisers cross-platform deals that include ads on DVDs, its Newtype USA anime magazine as well as the digital service.

Anime has also relied on an array of premiums to draw the attention of cable operators and the media. In December, it sent cable operators nationwide bottles of Japanese sake and china sets along with Anime DVDs and books.

Earlier this month at the National Show in New Orleans, Anime gave reporters and cable affiliates Japanese bento boxes and chopsticks. It also handed out more than 5,000 DVDs and 500 T-shirts at its booth, a spokeswoman said.