News Commentary

Viz Media Dips Their Toe into Wider Distribution

Earlier today, T3 Networks announced that they’re partnering with Viz to distribute the company’s TV and film properties. T3 will market titles on Viz’s behalf to television networks and other venues. According to T3, they will “leverage its relationships, technologies and processes to help expand upon the television distribution landscape with selected Viz Media series.” In particular, the company cited Naruto Shippuden, Death Note, and Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva among titles they would market.

Given Viz Media’s interests in cinema and prior experience with film distribution, I’m surprised that a partnership like this didn’t happen sooner. In live action films, Viz keeps numerous live-action titles cycling between art houses, including Nana and Death Note, and is no stranger to television. In particular, they’ve negotiated TV runs of Naruto (both the original and Shippuden), Inu-Yasha, Death Note, and Bleach on major networks that include Cartoon Network and Disney XD.

At the moment, it’s difficult to tell just whom T3 will market Viz’s titles to, or how they will pitch these properties. One can safely assume that they will give Viz’s products a spotlight on their website. However, it is safe to assume that Viz is keen on tapping new markets with this move. T3 is an effective force in getting titles into theaters and into visible spots on online providers via strong partnerships with networks like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft (via Zune market). In addition, T3 has experience with numerous pay-per-view and on-demand networks, which they’ve leveraged for properties like The Popcorn List.

Personally, I’m curious to see how things pan out. A partnership with a group like T3 shows that Viz wants to expand, to hopefully capture non-customers that are interested in anime, but may not be aware of the company’s offerings (don’t laugh – they exist). It also shows that Viz wants to test the overall marketability of their larger titles, like Professor Layton and Death Note.

Whatever the outcome of this partnership, I suggest that people watch intently. If it works, we can expect similar leverages of properties from other players in the market. If it fails, we will have another valuable history lesson about what not to do with anime properties. Either way, it will be fascinating to see just how the market reacts to Viz’s new aggressive stance with its properties.

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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