Amazon’s Original Content Strategy for Japan Achieves Liftoff

First formally unveiled last May, Amazon’s ambitious original content plans for Japan are part of a winning strategy, says James Farrell, Amazon’s head of content for the Asia Pacific region.

“Original content is a huge part of the Prime Video service,” says Farrell. “What drives us is a passion and desire to bring compelling, stand-out programming to customers — TV shows and movies that can’t be found anywhere else, that have a unique voice and interesting characters that audiences haven’t met before.”

“We’ve had success with all types of content, from anime to variety, and from TV series to movies,” Farrell says. The company will also have buyers active at the Tokyo Film Festival and its allied TIFFCOM market.

Since entering the Japanese market for streaming content in September last year, Amazon has taken care to cover all genre bases, local contents included. “One of the most exciting things we’ve learned is how broad our audience is in terms of what content they are most interested in watching,” says Farrell. “The four best performing Japanese Amazon original series are all completely different.”

They include: the 12-part drama series “Happy Marriage,” which launched on June 22; the sci-fi comedy series “Businessmen vs. Aliens,” scripted and directed by Yuichi Fukuda of the Bravo theater troupe which started in September; and spin-offs from the popular “Kamen Rider” action-adventure and “Crayon Shin-chan” comedy series for kids.

Although mobile devices are a prime growth area for these and other content, Farrell reports that Amazon “has also seen a good uptick from gaming consoles, connected TVs and especially Amazon’s own Amazon Fire TV family of devices, all which make watching Prime Video super easy.”

The claim is interesting given how slow Japanese consumers have been to adopt digital delivery of movies. Companies including Tsutaya now offer movies online, but still see video shops and home deliveries of DVD as their dominant business.

Spurred by enthusiastic user response to its made-for-Japan shows (“Customers come away saying, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before… and how long until the next episode?’ says Farrell,) Amazon is keeping the pipeline filled.

The family drama “Fukuyado Honnpo, Kyoto Love Story” bowed on Oct. 19, while the new variety show “Documental” starring megastar comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto is set to start before the end of the year, together with a spinoff of the enduringly popular “Ultraman” sci-fi series.

Also, coming up next year is the reality show “The Bachelor Japan,” which Amazon is presenting in partnership with Warner Bros.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Bristol, CT - March 13, 2017

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    AT&T's Ad-Tech Unit Xandr Buys Clypd To Help Place TV Commercials More Precisely

    Xandr, the AT&T ad-technology unit, has purchased a new company that helps advertisers use data to place commercials in front of the audiences most likely to want to watch them The AT&T division said Friday it had acquired clypd, a company that helps advertisers move forward in a growing desire by Madison Avenue to run [...]

  • AT&T Logo Building

    AT&T TV Now Price Hike Coming Next Month, Base Package to Cost $65

    AT&T is instituting a substantial price hike for its live TV streaming service AT&T TV Now: Customers who have subscribed to the service’s basic “Plus” package will see their bill go up by $15, to a total of $65 per month, starting next month. The telco has started to inform existing subscribers about the price [...]

  • Disney-Family-Movies

    Disney Family Movies SVOD Service Is Shutting Down Ahead of Disney Plus Debut

    After 11 years, Disney is pulling the plug on Disney Family Movies On Demand — with the service’s shutdown coming just days before the launch of the Mouse House’s Disney Plus. Disney Family Movies, which cost between $5-$10 per month, has been available via pay-TV providers in the U.S., including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Communications, Verizon [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Picks T-Mobile as Wireless Launch Partner

    Quibi, the short-form mobile TV service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, announced a pact with T-Mobile to be the official telecommunications partner for its April 2020 launch. T-Mobile will be the exclusive wireless distributor when Quibi launches next spring. However, the arrangement doesn’t mean only T-Mobile customers will be able to subscribe to Quibi: Anyone will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content