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Crunchyroll Partners With TV Tokyo & Pierrot

Online video distributor Crunchyroll has announced a strategic partnership with Japanese television network & anime producer TV Tokyo and Japanese anime production studio Pierrot. The new distribution partnership will initially bring episodes of the Naruto Shippuden television series to international viewers beginning January 8, 2009. Additional programs to be announced will be distributed online immediately following their Japanese television broadcast.

A Japanese language press announcement from TV Tokyo provides further details. Current Naruto Shippuden episodes with English subtitles will be available to Crunchyroll paid monthly subscribers roughly one hour after Japanese broadcast. The episodes will then become accessible for free to all viewers seven days later on Crunchyroll and, via Viz Media, the, Joost, and Hulu video streaming services.

Japanese news service BB Watch reports that TV Tokyo will initially distribute episodes of five different anime television series on Crunchyroll on the same day as their Japanese television broadcast, including Naruto Shippuden and Gintama.

“One objective of the partnership is to combat online piracy.” To that ends, the Crunchyroll site is being redesigned to “ensure that all professionally-produced content is approved by licensors.” Beginning January 8, the Crunchyroll website will cease accepting user submitted videos and begin hosting only video content provided by official copyright holders.

“We understand that digital distribution is important in keeping our overseas fans happy and engaged with our titles,” states Mr. Soichiro Hashi, General Manager for TV Tokyo’s animation business, speaking on behalf of the three Tokyo-based partners. “We are listening to the needs of our overseas fan base and they clearly want to have access to titles earlier. We hope our online offering will increase legitimate viewing of our titles while making sure our worldwide fan-base is content as we attempt to fulfill the growing need for quality anime titles. Crunchyroll is an ideal partner for us because we both specialize in anime. Together, we will cater to an audience that will appreciate and support all the hard work of the creators and animators.”

Source: Official press announcement & Anime News Network

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