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Kabushiki Gaisha ABS is a Japanese conglomerate company headquartered in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Company overview Edit

The company was founded in June 1999 by Kenji Yukimura to take control of the Aso Broadcasting System, an English-language television station formed in 1987 by Rokurou Inoue as part of a deal between Nippon TV and TV Asahi. Kenji stated that he would "help to expand the Aso Broadcasting System's outreach" and "operate a nationwide network of English-language television stations across Japan". Prior to the company's establishment, ABS' stations were loosely connected in a non-centralised manner.

2016 saw a massive expansion outside of the television field, taking up business in family entertainment, retail and snack foods.

Name Edit

The company's name roughly translates to "ABS Corporation" or "ABS Co, Ltd.", however the company always refers to itself, in both English and Japanese, as "Kabushiki Gaisha ABS".

Operations Edit

Television Edit

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS operates a number of television stations, under the ABS Television Network banner. It started as a banded union of 8 stations.

The ABS Television Network has been noted for introducing Japanese television viewers to many Korean and western programmes and creating some of its own exclusive series, whilst keeping its original focus of making popular Japanese programming more accessible to foreigners residing in Japan and those interested in Japanese culture.

As of April 2016, an increase in the number of ABS affiliates was seen, with new stations reaching out into smaller, prefecture-level areas. The number of terrestrial ABS Television stations serving Japan turned from as little as 10 at the start of the month, to 23 as of April 27, 2016. Some of these newer networks have however fallen to low viewership figures, leading to the closure of three prefectural stations on May 25, 2017.

The ABS Television Network comprises of 20 stations in Japan. ABS also operates a number of satellite, cable and terrestrial networks targeted towards international viewers.

On-demand Edit

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS is the founder and operator of the ABS Anywhere on-demand television service.

Web portals Edit

The ABS Television Network has its own website, abs.jp, along with many TV-show-specific microsites. Its other brands have their own websites.

Social media Edit

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS runs a number of Twitter accounts:

Character accounts Edit

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS also has multiple "character" Twitter accounts, run in a way that makes it seem that the account is run by an actual ABS Television character him/herself, and with posts reflecting their in-universe day-to-day happenings. The main characters of the Doraemon anime series were first to receive character accounts.

The following ABS characters and mascots currently have character accounts as of January 1, 2017:

  • @abs_doraemon: Doraemon
  • @abs_noby: Nobita Nobi
  • @abs_sue: Shizuka Minamoto
  • @abs_sneech: Suneo Honekawa
  • @abs_big_g: Takeshi "Gian" Gouda
  • @abs_chucke: Chuck E. Cheese

Merchandising Edit

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS is responsible for the international distribution and marketing of merchandise associated with its television series (particularly anime series), as well as many original items of their own, and popular toys and items from other countries that are not officially distributed by any company in Japan.

DVDs are also released by Kabushiki Gaisha ABS, the first titles having been released under the "ABS Home Entertainment" banner in 2005.

Expansion into family entertainment and retail Edit

Main articles: Chuck E. Cheese's and ABS Retail

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS purchased the American family entertainment centre chain Chuck E. Cheese's on June 10, 2016. Kabushiki Gaisha ABS quickly became the driving force of new efforts to see the chain's international expansion and the total renovation of the brand's image after much negative attention from the previous management. CEC Entertainment, Inc. (the chain's previous operators until the takeover) became an ABS subsidiary, with the Irving, TX office building complex they partially occupied becoming part of the Kabushiki Gaisha ABS Southwest Annexe.

One month later, Kabushiki Gaisha ABS took control of Brothers & Justice, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale (including its subsidiaries), forming a banded union of clothing outlets. American Eagle's 77 Kids brand was revived as part of the announcement.

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS' new retail division was the main motivating factor in the company's involvement in the rebuilding of Euclid Square Mall. In July, Kmart would be purchased in a split-ownership deal with Luke Sams Corporation. Another Luke Sams joint partnership in August 2016 saw the long-defunct Burger Chef restaurant chain restarted. Kabushiki Gaisha ABS later announced yet another partnership that saw the conglomerate taking a 50% co-operative ownership stake in BigSpin Corporation's KB Toys chain.

Reception to ABS' retail expansion was generally positive, with a 2017 New Year's message from Indiana-based Horizons Industry praising ABS for bringing "struggling places out of the dumpster".

On April 29, 2017, Kabushiki Gaisha ABS bought Hollister (previously a sub-brand of Abercrombie & Fitch) and Lenovo from Quito Inc. after its dissolution. The acquisition of Lenovo was notable for putting ABS in the consumer electronics business for the first time. The next day, Kabushiki Gaisha ABS terminated its relationship with Luke Sams Corporation, purchasing the company's 50% stakes in Kmart and Burger Chef and obtaining full ownership of said chains.

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