Disney XD Replaces Jetix, 4Kids Up For Sale

Jetix, the UK TV station that owns the rights to Sonic X, has recently been rebranded by parent company Disney in a bid to improve ratings. The move has resulted in the channel being renamed as ‘Disney XD’ and features a combines real-life Disney drama with cartoons on Jetix’s old schedule such as Pokemon: Battle Dimension.

In the US, 4Kids Entertainment – the anime localisation studio that doubled as a programming block on Fox television until December 2008 – has put itself up for sale according to paidContent.org. The move follows a dismal performance of the business, in which a recent report reveals that the company’s last profitable year was Fiscal Year ending January, 2006. 4Kids are reported to be going through a selective bidding process.

The implications on the animation Sonic X, and the Sonic franchise in general, could be massive. In Europe, Disney has owned the Jetix channel since 2001 – the aforementioned XD channel launch seems merely like an exercise in assimilation. However, Jetix owns the merchandising rights to the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in Europe, following a contract discrepancy with Sega in 2003. With Jetix merged, this opens questions as to whether Disney absorbs those rights or whether the contract defaults back to Sega Europe.

Back in North America, it will be interesting to see who ends up buying 4Kids and thus owning the rights to the Sonic X animation. With Disney’s move in Europe, it would be rather ironic to see the House of Mouse buy the company and complete the set of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons (thus far Disney own the rights to SatAM and Sonic Underground – it is assumed they own Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog too). Far more worrying a prospect is if 4Kids never finds a buyer, but with a portfolio including Pokemon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there’s a slim chance of that happening.

Who would you like to see own 4Kids? Do you think Jetix’s disappearance is good or bad for the future airing of Sonic X? Speak out in the comments section.

Yu-Gi-Oh! & Cabbage Patch Kids U.S. Parent 4Kids Entertainment For Sale – paidContent.org (via Anime News Network) – Thanks Ferno!

Jetix & Gaya Extend Sonic Toy License

The companies that brought you the incredible “Sonic the Hedgehog Chess” and squeezable Sonic figures, Jetix Consumer Products and Gaya Entertainment, have expanded their licensing agreement for more Sonic toys.  CEO of Gaya Entertainment, Andre Schmitz, said:

“We are very proud to announce the teaming up of Jetix and Gaya Entertainment for this project.  2009 will be an important year for everybody´s favorite Hedgehog and being a part of it is highly appreciated. With our product line-up for Sonic, we intend to offer something for everyone, may it be old or young.”

Georg Liedmeier, licensing manager at Jetix Consumer Products also spoke:

“Jetix is looking forward to working with Gaya Entertainment and delivering quality products from one of its most cherished franchises to both fans of the series and model collectors alike.”

The company will be rolling out new collectibles by the end of May, but has yet to find a UK distributor.  Three companies are in talks with Jetix and Gaya for UK distribution.

[From Toy News Online]

Sonic X-2 UK Scheduled for September

Sonic X, the popular japanese Sonic anime, will be airing new episodes on Jetix from the beginning of September 2005. This news has been officially confirmed by Jetix themselves.

Sonic fan “Soniku UK” posted the following e-mail onto Sonic HQ news:

Thank you for your e-mail about the programme Sonic X.

I can confirm that new episodes are scheduled for the beginning of September 2005, however, exact dates have still to be confirmed.

Thank you for contacting Sky.

This e-mail appears authentic and is probably not a hoax. It confirms that Sonic X will be appearing on Jetix come early September. Jetix is a channel only available to cable or sattelite TV viewers, and can be found on Sky channel 609.

As soon as a more specific date emerges, it will be posted here.