Naruto Press Releases - VIZ and Shueisha Partnership

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VIZ COMMUNICATIONS AND SHUEISHA CREATE PARTNERSHIP

New boys' magazine unites anime powerhouses in America

SAN FRANCISCO — June 10, 2002 — Viz Communications, Inc., the leading U.S. producer of anime and manga has partnered with Shueisha Inc. to launch a new mass-market boys' magazine. The venture was announced today by Mr. Seiji Horibuchi, founder and president of Viz Communications, Inc. and Mr. Noritaka Yamaji, executive director of Shueisha Inc., Tokyo, Japan.

Viz currently produces Japanese animation and comics in English with over 20 monthly titles. The new monthly magazine, to be launched in November 2002, will be patterned after Shueisha's Shonen Jump and will feature the manga from which many of the world's most popular anime properties such as Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh were derived.

Shueisha, the largest manga publisher in the world, has annual sales in excess of $600 million and a 30% share of the sizeable Japanese manga market. "U.S. kids know all about anime due to exposure on television," says Mr. Yamaji. "They don't know that most of today's most popular anime properties originated as manga in Jump. We are thrilled to be bringing these properties to the U.S. market in their original format, and to be introducing the hottest new properties from Japan." In Japan, Jump currently has a circulation of over 3.4 million per week making it the largest in the boys' segment and also the leader in advertising in its category. Viz plans to achieve circulation levels of over 1 million within the first three years of operation and, like the Japanese edition, is targeting advertising support as well. The partnership will engage the Cartoon Network, Suncoast, the store for movie lovers, and Diamond Comic Distributors as promotional partners to support the publishing venture.

The growing popularity of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics) in the U.S. has led to a distinct and growing market segment of boys 8-16 who identify with the "anime lifestyle." "The magazine will serve to define, reflect, and reinforce this lifestyle, to be the unifying authority on what it means to be cool for these boys," says Mr. Horibuchi. "Further this magazine will be a natural extension of our core business and company vision and we plan to put our hearts, souls, and a multi-million dollar launch budget into making this magazine successful," he added.

With the current high interest in animation and the world of comics, Viz will rely on a unique launch strategy featuring the strongest brands in anime and manga today. Viz' aggressive cross platform business model will include single-copy sales, subscriptions, advertising and other revenue streams. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.


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