Starzplay pacts with TV Tokyo for anime content

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Dubai-based regional streaming service Starzplay has signed a strategic pact with Japanese broadcaster TV Tokyo Corporation to bring more than one thousand hours of anime content to the MENA region. 

The multi-year agreement includes some of TV Tokyo’s hottest anime properties, including Naruto (all 220 episodes), as well as its sequel Naruto Shippuden (all 500 episodes). 

Other anime favourites covered by the deal include Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, an on-going production with more than 180 episodes, and Fruits Basket, a romantic comedy about an orphan girl and a mysterious family that hosts her. 

In addition to the the large volume of library titles, Starzplay subscribers will have access to new weekly episodes of Boruto on a simulcast basis, several of them premiering in February 2021. Starzplay also has rights for Season 3 of Fruits Basket, which is scheduled for broadcast in April. 

Maaz Sheikh, Starzplay co-founder and CEO, said: “Our partnership with TV Tokyo to bring some of the most popular anime series establishes Starzplay as the true home in the region for anime. Over the last few years, the region has witnessed increased demand for anime, and we are bringing nothing but the best of content that anime fans in the region will love.”

Yukio Kawasaki, director, TV Tokyo Corporation, said: “Through our strong ties with Starzplay, we are delighted to offer our diverse suite of anime series for viewers in MENA, including our flagship franchise Naruto and upcoming culminating season of the popular series Fruits Basket: The Final. This will boost the popularity of anime in the region, especially among youth and families.”

TV Tokyo operates a national free-to-air network known for its strength in youth and young adults programming, particularly in animation, and is also a leading exporter of Japanese television content.

Starzplay, which is available in 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, has secured $125m in equity funding through Lionsgate-own Starz, State Street Global Advisors and technology investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners.