VIZ Media Expands Naruto Brand In South America

by Jeff

San Francisco, CA, September 10, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that International Merchandising Consultants (IMC) has been named as the Merchandise Licensing Agent in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay for the smash-hit property NARUTO.

IMC has been a leading South American entertainment licensing company for a variety of cutting-edge entertainment properties for over 27 years and will have the exclusive right to negotiate product licensing deals with local partners in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay for the NARUTO brand on behalf of VIZ Media. The company represents some of the hottest brands in the industry today, including a variety from Lucasfilm, Fox and Marvel.

“IMC is very happy to become a part of the growing success of the NARUTO franchise in Latin America. NARUTO and VIZ Media are a welcome addition to our portfolio and we feel that the market is ripe to embrace a brand as exciting and as popular as NARUTO,” says Leonardo Gutter, President, IMC.

The agreement lends even more momentum to the growing popularity of the NARUTO franchise throughout Latin America and further widens the overall international appeal of this unique property. Targeting tweens and teens, the animated series portrays the adventures of a young boy named Naruto Uzumaki who trains to become a ninja. The series has captured legions of fans across North America, where it’s seen weekly by millions on Cartoon Network and also on YTV in Canada.

“By forging this agreement with International Merchandising Consultants, we’re partnering with one of the most respected licensing agencies in South America,” says Andrea Gonzalez, International Licensing Director, VIZ Media. “IMC is a demonstrated leader in this ever-growing market and possesses unique business and cultural expertise. We see them as one of the pioneers of the licensing industry in Argentina and this is critical to introducing a brand like NARUTO. As the popularity of the world’s favorite ninja continues to spread across Latin America we look forward to opening innovative new retail and product opportunities with IMC.”

The manga counterpart by Misashi Kishimoto will be licensed in Argentina to a local publishing house and the first volume of this highly anticipated manga series is expected to be released in the market in the first half of 2009.

VIZ Media has also licensed broadcast rights to various broadcasters in the region, including Cartoon Network Latin America (Pan-regional), Televisa (Mexico), SBT (Brazil), Televen (Venezuela), Chilevision (Chile), City TV Bogota (Colombia), America TV (Peru) and many others. In addition to this impressive list of broadcast partners, NARUTO has a broad merchandising program in several Latin American territories. Licensed categories include apparel, back-to-school, snack food promotion, toys, sticker albums, home entertainment and others.

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