Having the support of Japan’s leading TV stations and movie production houses, online retail giant Amazon.com is now actively seeking to be a major player in Japan’s video distribution market, even as sources reveal that it is preparing to offer content as early as this week. Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc. (TBS), TV Asahi Corp. and all the other major commercial TV stations in Tokyo, as well as film makers, are expected to provide Amazon.com with programs and movies.
“We will welcome Amazon’s entry into the market, as it will be sure to revitalize the industry and increase the number of customers,” a senior official of a broadcasting company said. The TV and movie content providers are making sure that they only give top content to Amazon, as they fear that weaker brands and shows might just be buried underneath the pile in Amazon’s retail site. “If our products do not have strong brand power, they may fall into oblivion on Amazon.com’s website,” the same senior official added. Amazon.com is currently expected to start its service by offering several tens of thousands of programs, including TV Asahi’s drama Doctor-X, TBS’s drama Zutto Anataga Sukidatta (“I’ve always loved you”), and Thermae Romae, a film made by Fuji Television Network Inc. among others.
A few hundred yen (a few dollars) will be required to “rent” a video for a period of several days. Distributed programs will be available on personal computers through Amazon.com, or on the company’s series of Kindle Fire electronic tablets, which is set to add the HDX model domestically on Nov. 28. There are already a number of players in the Japanese “video on demand” market before Amazon steps in this week – including major distributor GyaO Corp., which provides about 110,000 free and fee-based videos, and Tsutaya TV, which distributes some 40,000 paid videos.