With Anime Central – the UK’s first ever 100% dedicated anime TV channel – set to hit British airwaves in September, Anime UK News has turned its attention to the state of anime on UK TV.
As anime invades the small screen, AUKN talks to Anime Central brand manager Mark Buchanan to find out what viewers can expect to see on the new anime channel heading on UK TV screens in September ’07.
Anime UK News: How was the idea of “Anime Central” conceived and what convinced Chart Show Channels it was a concept worth supporting?
Mark Buchanan: Originally, I was brought in to research a bunch of concepts for entertainment channels that had been floating around the company for a while. Having enjoyed anime down the years, I was desperate to include an anime block regardless of what channel it would eventually become. Luckily my bosses had a decent awareness of the material and they knew it was strong. It wasnâ€™t difficult to convince them that anime warranted more than just a slot.
Anime UK News: There have been a few short-lived UK TV channels that aired anime, so why do you feel the time is right to launch Anime Central now? How will you attract an audience?
Mark Buchanan: I think you only have to look at the phenomenal work that companies like Manga, MVM, Beez, Revelation, and ADV have done in promoting the discs in the UK to know that interest in anime has grown in the last decade. My hope is Anime Central will be both passionate and all-inclusive, appealing to the hardcore fans while catering to folk who are completely new to it.
Developing the channelâ€™s look has been key along with continued cross-promotion that will occur on channels such as Scuzz, The Vault and Flaunt.
Weâ€™re going to have an exciting web presence at www.animecentral.com where we hope to build a strong community of viewers and fans.
Anime UK News: The vast majority of anime lined up for Anime Central is aimed at the young adult demographic, could you explain to us why you decided to go down this route instead of attempting to tap in to childrenâ€™s anime instead?
Mark Buchanan: The diversity of anime out there is staggering and I truly believe that the â€˜grown-upâ€™ shows in our line up like GITS: SAC or Planetes rank up there with the best of American television. With such strong content available, I really wasnâ€™t interested in doing a kids channel. The little folk are already well served with a decent amount of anime on other stations and I feel that itâ€™s time for the big â€˜uns to get a look in.
Anime UK News: Anime Central has plans to air a lot of highly acclaimed anime TV series. With this in mind, how do you go about selecting what to air on Anime Central?
Mark Buchanan: I watch absolutely everything thatâ€™s sent my way. By far the most difficult part is selection and Iâ€™m cursed with taking programming too personally at times. I often have to take a step back and ask myself if this will play well to large audiences. Thatâ€™s not to say we wonâ€™t be broadcasting more challenging titles, but if the channelâ€™s ever going to stand a chance we need to introduce a launch with a line-up that is going to appeal to as many people as possible. As it stands, Iâ€˜m immensely proud of the collection and I believe it balances my selfishness with the requirements of the casual viewer!
Anime UK News: Given the recent popularity of fan subs and video streaming sites like You Tube amongst anime fans, how does Anime Central plan to tempt fans away from their computer screens and back in front of their TV sets?
Mark Buchanan: The pictureâ€™s a lot better!
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