Sony Pictures Entertainment is launching Animax Asia, the first 24-hour-a-day anime network outside of Japan, this month. The network will be distributed to Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Indonesia, with more countries to follow. Sony estimates that there are 94 million TV viewers of anime in Asia.
Animax is already the #1 cable and satellite network in Japan, where it was launched in 1998. The network is a partnership between Sony Pictures Entertainment and four major anime studios -- Toei Animation, Sunrise, TMS Entertainment, and Nihon Ad Systems.
In the U.S., ADV has been offering its Anime Network as part of video-on-demand services in a small but growing number of markets (see 'Anime Network Expands Across America'). If Sony brings Animax to the States, it would represent strong competition in the race to be the first anime network broadly available across the country.