TOKYO (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co plans to produce a Japanese version of its “Lilo and Stitch” animation program, its Japanese unit said, underscoring efforts to broaden its global reach by catering to Asian tastes.
The U.S. entertainment firm will team up with Japanese animation company Madhouse Ltd to produce a TV version of the animated film for the Disney Channel available on Japanese satellite and cable TV, a Walt Disney Co Japan spokeswoman said.
“Japan is an important market with a huge Disney following, especially because we have a Disney resort here,” she said, referring to the complex that includes Tokyo Disneyland.
Disney also plans to team up with Asia’s top animation producer, Toei Animation Co Ltd, to make a robot adventure computer graphics cartoon to go on air this year, Toei and Disney said.
Shares of Toei ended 3.2 percent higher at 2,320 yen ($22.36), compared with a 1.9 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei.
While Disney has sought partners in Japan, it does not plan acquisitions at this point, the local unit’s spokeswoman said.
Disney Channel Worldwide’s entertainment president, Gary Marsh, told Reuters last month that the company aimed to form creative teams around Asia to come up with local content that could then be fed to a global audience.
Disney has already localized some TV series, including one that began in Italy and now has versions running in Britain, the United States and Australia.
The company last month reached a deal worth around $200 million with Indian TV and movie content maker UTV to raise its holding to 32.1 percent.
Reporting by Edwina Gibbs and Yoko Kubota; Editing by Hugh Lawson