Launch inks Japanese Web deal

Joint venture to provide musicvideos via the Internet

Santa Monica-based Launch Media Thursday announced a joint venture with Yahoo! Japan, Softbank Publishing and Tokyo Broadcasting System to provide musicvideos over the Internet in Japan.

The Web site for Launch Japan will be entirely in Japanese and present a mix of Japanese and international artists. It will be based in Tokyo. Much like Launch.com, the company will rely on ad revenue, sponsorships and transaction fees to pull in money.

Although the precise financial terms of the deal were not released, Softbank Publishing will own a 50% stake in the new company, Launch Media will have a 30% stake and Yahoo! Japan and Tokyo Broadcasting Systems 10% each.

“Japan is the world’s second-largest music marketplace,” said Dave Goldberg, CEO of Launch. “We couldn’t have selected better partners with a more thorough knowledge of the Japanese market than Softbank and Yahoo! Japan.”

Softbank oversees the Japanese versions of several online companies, including ETrade Japan, E-Loan Japan and CarPoint K.K. Yahoo! Japan is almost identical to its American counterpart, and offers an extensive search engine. Tokyo Broadcasting System is one of four major networks in Japan.

“Japan has been in need of a top music destination Web site,” said Makoto Okazaki, president and CEO of Softbank Publishing. “There is great demand for both localized and international music content and information, and we look forward to creating the perfect balance between the two.”

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