Japan’s Culture Convenience Club To Become Movie Financier

TOKYO — Culture Convenience Club, which operates the Tsutaya video store chain, has unveiled an initiative to underwrite the work of new filmmakers.

CCC will provide up to JPY50 million ($400,000) of finance for the films, which must be live-action and 60 minutes or longer.

The completed films will be rented as DVDs through Tsutaya, or distributed by mail delivery or Internet streaming through CCC group companies.

Japan is unique among developed markets in seeing continued viability in the video rental business.

CCC will partner with One More, a Tokyo-based start-up that operates the Green Funding crowdfunding website, to raise funds for the films from the 48 million members of CCC’s T Point loyalty card program, and from other online backers.

Producing its own content gives the company a bigger share of the rights than acquired titles. A committee will select the first three projects by November.

Founded in 1983, CCC rode the video boom to become the operator of Japan’s largest video rental store chain, Tsutaya. With slow fading of that boom the company has branched out into online entertainment, DVD home delivery, and bookstores. Tsutaya has a database of nearly 50 million members.

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