Japan’s media market is the largest in Asia.  Advertising expenditures in Japan topped US$50 billion in 2006.  TV and sales promotion were the largest media segments accounting for 34% and 33% respectively of the market. Newspapers (17%), Internet (6%) and magazines (6%) round out the top five. Ad revenues from the Internet are growing rapidly. 

For the past decade, the publishing market in Japan has been at best stagnant. Sales of Japanese magazines have fallen from US$13.1 billion in 1997 down to US$10.7 billion in 2005.

Top magazines in Japan still have impressive circulation figures. Nikkei Business is the leading Japanese business magazine with a circulation of just over 332,000 followed by President Magazine (210,000) and Diamond Weekly (111,000). 

Print publishers are under pressure as the ad market for newspapers and magazines shrinks, while ad spend on the Internet has recently doubled to US$3.03 billion.

The Internet is also undermining the traditional print distribution system in Japan. Simultaneously, the youth market is reportedly less interested in print and embracing new formats such as serial novels delivered to mobile phones.  As a result, B2B publishers in Japan are beginning to employ strategies that utilise a combination of platforms. They are adding resources and capital into the development of print magazines, targeted websites, e-newsletters and specialized seminars and events to attract and retain readers. 

Japan’s business events industry is the second largest in Asia. In 2005, almost 2.1 million square metres of space was sold at Japanese trade fairs. The largest industry segment was engineering, industrial and manufacturing shows which generated almost 300,000sqm of sold space.   Online B2B media in Japan is dynamic and moving in interesting directions. Blogs are very popular across Japan and they are popping up in a wide variety of industries. This explosion in popularity has caught the attention of B2B businesses and publishers. Blogs are rapidly being integrated into vertical industry sites and news websites across Japan.  Japan has always had a strong mobile Internet service market, but the use of the mobile phone as an Internet access device gained significant momentum in the last few years. Mobile phones in Japan are now used to send and receive emails, download music and access popular websites. Consequently, B2B online publishers and other online businesses will need to adapt to this trend in order to accommodate the growing user preference for mobile devices.   Many of the traditional B2B media firms in Japan appear unsure of how to capitalise on these market changes. As a result, they are reacting somewhat tentatively to new trends such as blogs and mobile publishing. Perhaps the most significant factor hindering change is Japan’s unique distribution system which employs thousands of small print distributors.  Although their progress is slow, newspapers, magazines and TV broadcasters are developing B2B online services, but time will tell if they move fast enough to meet the shifting demands of their readership and the market.

This is an excerpt of a recent report issued by Business Strategies Group, Hong Kong – www.bsgasia.com.  To buy the entire report please contact Candice Siu, Assistant Manager – Research: Candice@bsgasia.com

BIIA Newsletter July – 2007 Issue