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Pioneer Entertainment Changing Its Name

26 Sep, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Anime house Pioneer Entertainment (USA) will change its name to Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. when Tokyo-based advertising giant Dentsu Inc., acquires a majority of the outstanding shares of Pioneer and sister company Pioneer LDC, Inc. Oct. 1.

Geneon, a moniker formed by combining “generate” and “eon,” is designed to embody Pioneer's creative capabilities to produce new entertainment with eternal value, a spokesperson said. Yosuke Kobayashi will continue to serve as president of Geneon Entertainment (USA).

“We have built a solid and respected reputation as a licensee among publishers, rights holders and anime producers in Japan," said Kobayashi. “With Dentsu as our new parent, we anticipate tapping into its global resources as well as our own to expand our anime offerings to the growing North American audience.”

Pioneer Entertainment began licensing and distributing popular Japanese programming, including Tenchi Muyo!, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and Armitage, among others, to the American home viewing audience. Under Pioneer Entertainment's guidance, the launch and distribution of the Pokemon franchise became a phenomenon in itself, with sales exceeding 25 million units.

The company has become a leading supplier of anime in the United States, boasting a 36 percent share of the anime DVD market and a library of titles that have been seen on large and small screens throughout North America.

Teaming with many of Japan's top production companies, including Gonzo, Madhouse and Production I.G, Pioneer has been a creative partner in developing several anime favorites, including Armitage Dual-Matrix, Hellsing, Strawberry Eggs, SoulTaker and Fushigi Yugi Eikoden. The company also licenses titles created by some of Japan's most popular filmmakers and has entered the theatrical arena.

In Japan, Dentsu has made investments in the production of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which Buena Vista released in the United States, and Princess Mononoke. The company's entertainment portfolio also includes Japanese distribution rights for Lord of the Rings and the television distribution rights for Buena Vista properties. Aggressively pursuing the production and distribution for animation television programming, the company is also seeking the overseas distribution and sales of Japanese animation franchises such as “Astro Boy” and “Kirby.”

The acquisition increases Dentsu's entertainment-related business and forges a strategic path into software content.

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