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The 4Kids 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' Transition

Interview with Yumi Hoashi

Published: 07/30/2012 01:38am
We had the opportunity to discuss the changes for the Yu-Gi-Oh! property with Konami Digital Entertainment Vice President Card Business Yumi Hoashi, to find out more about the split of 4Kids assets between two companies, one controlled by Konami and one by Saban (see "Court Approves Splitting 4Kids").
How is the new structure with the acquisition of 4Kids assets going to work?
We took over all of the existing Yu-Gi-Oh! assets from 4Kids including their licensed rights.  We’ll be taking over the adaptation [of the anime].  We’re creating a new company with some of the existing 4Kids employees so there’s no change in branding or messaging.  We’re taking over the New York office and we’re creating a new company which is wholly owned by Konami.  It’ll really be business as usual.
What functions will that New York office handle?
It’ll be the same functions they used to handle [as 4Kids], so it will be the adaptation of the animated series, and the licensing for merchandise of all Yu-Gi-Oh! titles.
And distribution of the anime?
Yes.
Was there any relationship previously between the trading card business and 4Kids, or was that totally separate?
We’ve always had a really good working relationship with 4Kids.
More of collaboration, but the rights didn’t go through them and back?
No, it didn’t.  So whenever we were coming up with new card games, we’d work together, collaborate on getting the best card name for our market. 
What is the distribution situation for the tv show right now?
We’re still on the CW 4Kids currently through the re-launch on the CW network.  We have one hour of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal between 9 and 10 and then one hour of the classic Yu-Gi-Oh! series on Saturday morning 11 to 12. 
And that’s the programming block that Saban took over?
Yes, that’s correct.
Are you going have to find a new home for the TV show?
They’re going to continue broadcasting the new series as well as supporting the original Yu-Gi-Oh!  series as well—the library.
Are there currently reruns on other channels?
Not in the U.S. right now, but we are hopeful that we’ll find a place for them. 
So maybe with more stability on the 4Kids side, you can expand the distribution for the show?
Exactly.  And we’re currently on YTV up in Canada for Zexal as well. 
What’s the current licensing situation, what’s the biggest consumer product other than the trading card game?
Right now it really is about the trading card game. 
What’s the toy situation?
There used to be a toy line with Playmates in the 5D’s era, but with all of the litigation...  Now we can go out there and actively solicit for new licensees for the Zexal brand.  It hasn’t really been done in the past year because of the difficulties that 4Kids was having.  But with this new company that’ss being established, we can go out there and solicit actively.
 
 
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