On Oct. 1, Tokyo-based advertising giant Dentsu will acquire a majority of the outstanding shares of anime distributor Pioneer Ent. (USA) and its sister company Pioneer LDC. Both companies will fall under the new name Geneon–derived from "generate" and "eon."
Long Beach, California-based Pioneer Ent. has been the premier provider of Japanese anime in North America. It began licensing and distributing a variety of popular Japanese programming, including Tenchi Muyo!, Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z and Armitage, introducing anime programming to American audiences. The launch and distribution of the Pokémon franchise was a phenomenon, with sales exceeding 25 million units. Pioneer boasts a 36% share of the anime DVD market and an impressive 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 helped develop several anime favorites including Armitage Dual-Matrix, Hellsing, Strawberry Eggs, SoulTaker and Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden. In addition, the company licenses titles created by some of Japan’s most popular and prestigious filmmakers and has entered the theatrical arena with movie releases.
Dentsu was an investor in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and its entertainment portfolio also includes Japanese distribution rights for The Lord of the Rings and the television-distribution rights for Buena Vista properties. The company is also seeking overseas distribution and sales of Japanese animation franchises such as Astro Boy and Kirby. With its acquisition of Pioneer, the company gains a strategic entry into the software-content industry.