Online News in Japan: Popular, but Not Profitable
Japan’s largest newspaper Web sites get hundreds of millions of page views per month. But many new media pioneers are still unsure where news sites fit into the media mix in Japan — and whether they’ll ever make a profit. A man walks by a bank in Osaka just as it erupts into flames. He pulls out a camera-equipped cell phone — one of 10 million in use in Japan — and snaps a photo.
He e-mails it to Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, which publishes it on the front page. Predicting few readers will ever use cell phones to cruise the Web, Asahi Shimbun builds a Web site for cell phone users in 1999 — just in case. Today, 1 million people pay about $1 each month to access Asahi content, making wireless Web the most profitable part of Asahi’s interactive division. CONTINUE
COMMENTARY: This is an excellent story providing a snapshot in time of the distribution of newspaper content via keitai in Japan – a profitable endeavor. Key points from this News Item:
- Teddy Jimbo, Japan’s first video journalist, web casts a controversial weekly news analysis program from his small television studio in Tokyo; 4,000 subscribers pay about $4.50 each month to watch this and three other regular shows
- Many of Japan’s newspaper Web sites update around the clock, employ dozens of staffers, and boast hundreds of millions of page views every month.
- Only five or six Yomiuri staff members are involved in cell phone news services, but it is expected to yield about 100 million yen in profits each year