Market Insight

Amazon invests in original content for its Japanese Prime Video service

July 06, 2016  | Subscribers Only

Jun Wen Woo Jun Wen Woo Senior Research Analyst, Online Video

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Amazon has unveiled its plan to add original content exclusively on its Prime Video service in Japan. There will be 12 new original programmes, including kids’ content, comedy and documentaries, available for Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Japan. Amazon Studio stated that of 40 global original content productions planned for 2016, half of the content will be in Japanese, showing the importance of the Japanese market for Amazon’s original content plans.

Our analysis:

Amazon Instant Video entered the Japanese market with a transactional movie and TV offer in November 2013. Prime offer, including one-day delivery, and bundled music and video services, was launched two years later in September 2015. Amazon has already invested in local content - as of July 2016, Amazon Prime’s offer consisted of 918 foreign (including Korean and other Asian) and 724 Japanese movies, but with this move – investing in original Japanese content - Amazon has declared its further interest in Japanese market.

SVoD services accounted for 63% of Japan’s online video market revenues in 2015, with the total size of the market reaching over USD250 million, up 68% from 2014. Key players in the SVoD market are Hulu Japan, AcTVila, Rakuten Showtime, U-NEXT, Netflix, Yahoo Japan’s Gyao, Tsutaya TV and Amazon Prime. There are also other online SVoD services from local broadcasters (NHK, TBS and Fuji TV) and multiscreen services by pay TV operators (J:Com, Hikari TV and Sky Perfect).

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Local Japanese online video players provide a more comprehensive selection of local titles compared to international players like Netflix and Amazon. IHS’s research confirms that local content is very popular among online video users. The importance of local content was demonstrated when Hulu first launched in Japan in 2011, as the service’s limited local content was cited as a contributing factor in its initial failure in the market. Hulu Japan has expanded its content since it was acquired by Japan TV broadcaster Nippon TV in February 2014. In March 2015, Nippon TV claimed that Hulu Japan will actively produce original drama for its users.

Netflix launched its SVoD service in early September 2015 and it has immediately invested in local and original content production through partnerships with local studios and broadcasters. See more:

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