Japan Contents Group to launch streaming platform

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Start-up industry organisation Japan Contents Group (JCG), comprising 29 Japanese film companies, broadcasters and industry organisations, is planning to launch video streaming platform Bonobo.

The service will be available across a wide range of platforms and stream films, TV shows, Japanese and foreign animation and music videos on a transactional basis. PacketVideo Japan Corp, owned by Japan’s largest mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo, will run Bonobo.

Toei chairman Yusuke Okada has been appointed chairman of JCG, with Toho-Towa president Hiroyasu Matsuoka and Walt Disney Japan general manager Takayuki Tsukagoshi as vice chairmen.

Okada is also chairman of the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren), one of the industry organisations that has joined JCG, along with the Foreign Film Importers-Distributors Association of Japan.

The move comes ahead of Netflix’s anticipated launch in the Japan market in the autumn of this year. Although video streaming is growing in Japan, it hasn’t exploded as quickly as in China and Korea due to the relative strength of the country’s DVD market.

Hulu’s Japanese service was bought out by Nippon Television Network (NTV) in 2014. Japanese anime already has a deeply entrenched home at otaku site Nico Nico, owned by Dwango, which merged with Kadokawa in October 2014.

Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV recently said it would supply programming to Netflix’s impending Japanese service. Three Fuji TV shows, including a new version of reality show Terrace House, will stream on Netflix before being broadcast on Fuji’s terrestrial networks and internet services.