Official Press Release
San Francisco, CA, October 21, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, and America Online, the world's leading interactive services company, today announced a collaboration that will give teens on AOL's RED service access to thirteen flash manga episodes of SHONEN JUMP'S popular DRAGON BALL manga series.
Each Friday for the next thirteen weeks, AOL's RED service for teens will offer an exclusive premiere of a new episode of the popular fantasy action series at 3:00pm EST. Teens on the RED service will have exclusive access to the episode for a period of 48 hours, before it becomes available to all Internet users at www.shonenjump.com. The compelling flash manga takes storylines from the pages of Akira Toriyama's famed graphic novel series and combines unique, full color and movement provided by Macromedia flash technology. The original incarnation of the DRAGON BALL flash manga began on Jumpland, a Japanese website featuring the most popular characters from the Japanese version of Weekly Shonen Jump, maintained by Shueisha, Inc., one of the largest publishers in Japan and a parent company of VIZ.
Now in its second year, SHONEN JUMP is the most popular monthly manga magazine in North America, with a current circulation of 175,000. It features serialized versions of many popular manga series including ONE PIECE, NARUTO, SHAMAN KING, YU-GI-OH! and DRAGON BALL Z. The domestic appeal and continued success of SHONEN JUMP has helped to drive the tremendous popularity the manga genre now enjoys. DRAGON BALL and the series' various related spin-offs remain among the magazine's most read titles. SHONEN JUMP has attracted the support of major mainstream advertisers like Dr Pepper and Clearasil and also created unique marketing partnerships with Scholastic Book Clubs and Reading Is Fundamental.
"This is a special opportunity for America Online users and fans of DRAGON BALL to see stories with favorite and familiar characters in a captivating new way," says Yumi Hoashi, vice president of SHONEN JUMP. "AOL's RED service offers unique original programming which makes it a perfect location to bring SHONEN JUMP's manga to fans. VIZ looks forward to cultivating this partnership with America Online and hopes that manga fans everywhere will embrace this format."
"The alliance with VIZ is a great addition to the Comics & Anime department on the RED service," said Malcolm Bird, Executive Vice President and General Manager Kids and Teens, America Online. "This is one of the fastest growing areas on the RED service, and we are thrilled to give teens an exclusive premiere of a new episode of the incredibly popular DRAGON BALL manga series before anyone else, which we know they will love."