Nico Nico Douga Hits 28 Million Users, Generates US$46 Million In Sales Last Quarter

Nico Nico Douga, Japan’s answer to YouTube, is still growing nicely, five years after launch.

Dwango, the Tokyo-based company behind the popular service, released its financial report [PDF] for the last nine months (ending in June 2012).

And according to the report, Nico Nico (the company’s most important asset) reached 28.08 million users in June. In other words, nearly a third of Japan’s online population has an account, which is pretty amazing.

Another interesting tidbit of information is that Nico Nico has 1.69 million premium members who pay 525 Yen (US$6.70) per month for advanced features, for example better video quality:

Here are more details about who is actually using Nico Nico. Observe Dwango’s claim that 90% of Japan’s population in their 20s is a user:

Nico Nico is profitable and generated 3.6 billion yen (US$46 million) in sales from April to June this year:

Nico Nico’s English version can be visited here.

Video: Girl Band JKT48 (AKB48’s Sister Band) Promoting Rakuten In Indonesia

JKT48, the Indonesian sister band of ultra-popular Japanese girl group AKB48 (Asiajin), is promoting Rakuten Belanja Online, Rakuten’s joint venture with Jakarta-based media powerhouse PT Global Mediacom, on Indonesian TV.

In the 30-second commercial, various members of the group can be seen wearing different clothes and accessories and using gadgets – and apparently all items can be bought on the site.

Rakuten Belanja Online was first announced back in December 2010 and began operations in June 2011.

Here’s the JKT48 TV spot:

Japan Gets Its Own YouTube Movie Rental Service

So far, only YouTube users from Canada, the US and (since October) the UK were able to rent movies, but yesterday, Japan has finally been added to the list, too (the country is the second biggest market for movies in the world).

Youtube users in Japan can initially stream content from a total of five American and local studios onto their PCs and Android phones, namely

  • Toei
  • Sony Pictures
  • Universal
  • Warner Bros.
  • Bandai Channel (for anime)

On its official blog, YouTube Japan says that the initial line-up consists of a mix between paid and free movies (200 in total), for example Unknown, Red Riding Hood, Take Me Home Tonight, or Sucker Punch.

Paid titles cost either 300 or 400 Yen, depending on how new they are. Movies can be rented from 24 to 72 hours.

The online movie rental space in Japan has seen some movement recently. Apart from established players like Gyao, YouTube Japan’s new service competes with newcomer Hulu (which started streaming movies and other content in Japan in September this year) or Nico Nico Douga (which started doing the same in cooperation with Warner Bros. a few days ago).

Video: Mobile Train Information Service “Yamanote Train Net”

Mitsubishi Electric
has developed a prototype app for iPhone and Android phones that could make life for the millions of commuters living in Tokyo a bit easier. The so-called “Yamanote Train Net” [JP] app is currently being tested in one train on the famous Yamanote line that circles the center of Tokyo.

Users can expect to get various information (and ads) delivered to their smartphone when they enter the train.

Mitsubishi explains what’s needed for the app to work:

“This is a completely closed Wi-Fi environment in a train. Content from a server on the train is basically provided via Wi-Fi, so the service isn’t directly connected to the outside world.”

The app tells users how crowded the train in question is (in real-time), what the temperature is like, when and where it’s best to change trains, which trains are delayed, etc.

There is also a “channel” for advertisements (videos), but it will be also possible to download coupons or “entertainment” content on your iPhone or Android phone.

Downloads (Japanese only, free):

This video, shot by Diginfo TV, provides more insight (Japanese/English subbed):