Tokyo: Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. will team up with several Japanese companies to produce animated features in Japan, a leading market for such films, a Disney official said Thursday.
Disney will work with Toei Animation Co., Madhouse Co. and Jinni’s Animation Studios. The Nikkei, Japan’s leading business daily, reported the move was aimed at bolstering Disney’s efforts to gain wider acceptance of its animated programming in Asia. The company official declined to provide details.
With Madhouse, Disney will produce a TV programme “Stitch!,” an offspring of the Lilo & Stitch series, to be aired in Japan, the official said. With Jinni, Disney will make a short animation film “Fireball,” she said.
The official could not provide further details on programming, referring queries to a public relations official not immediately available.
The Nikkei said the partnerships would allow Disney to tap local talent and computer graphics technology to produce programs targeting audiences in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.
These programmes will be broadcast via satellite and terrestrial channels, but Disney will also look into delivering content to mobile phones, the report said.
Disney has its own animation and movie channels in more than 100 countries, including Japan, where it launched Disney Channel in 2003. The company also started offering a cellular phone service here this month.
The Nikkei quoted an unidentified executive at Disney’s Japanese unit as saying that the move would “position Japan as a new base for content creation.” Toei Animation, meanwhile, will tap Disney’s distribution network to expand its overseas reach, the report said.
The US firm will continue to look for partners, but it doesn’t have plans for any acquisitions or capital tie-ups for now.
For Disney, a longtime producer of hit shows in the US, this will mark the first time that it has gone offshore with core production processes for major programmes, the report said.
The studio has tried to penetrate the global animation market by exporting programmes, but has concluded that production should be localized from scratch so that its shows will be widely accepted in different countries and cultures, according to the Nikkei.