Yahoo! Japan Allies With CCC(Tsutaya), Japan’s Blockbuster

Yahoo! Japan, the nation’s largest web service, and Culture Convenience Club(CCC), who runs video rental chain store Tsutaya and the center of the reward point network T-point, announced their tight alliance today after the Tokyo stock market closed.

According to the release [J], Yahoo! Japan to merge T-ID, online ID for 40 million T-point card members into Yahoo! Japan ID. Yahoo! Point, virtual reward points given on many Yahoo! Japan services, will be merged into T-point.

Both companies are to set up a new subsidiary dedicated to manage this new T-point, planned to establish in October, to finish the integration 2013 Spring.

Dentsu Buys 15% Stake In Tokyo-Based Web Company Kakaku.Com

Tokyo-based Dentsu, one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world, today announced [JP, PDF] it has acquired 15.06% of Kakaku.com, Japan’s largest price comparison site and community (all Kakaku-related articles on Asiajin, my very early review of the site from 2007).

The eponymous company behind the service is currently listed at the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a US$1.6 billion market cap. Culture Convenience Club (CCC) , the operator of the Tsutaya DVD and CD store chain, is the main shareholder.

While the price comparison site is still the core asset (after almost 15 years in business), kakaku.com rolled out a number of other web services in the last few years that now Dentsu has a foot in, i.e. movie portal eiga.com, 4travel, or hotel reservation service yoyaQ.com.

The biggest hit Kakaku.com landed after establishing online price comparison in Japan is tabelog, a wildly popular restaurant guide that is similar to Yelp in the US. Last month, tabelog alone saw 712 million page views (kakaku.com: 877 million).

All sites of the group racked up a combined 1.7 billion page views in the same time frame, coming from 77 million unique users – and this reach is exactly what Dentsu is after.

Kakaku.com’s stats can be accessed here [PDF].

Rental Shop TSUTAYA Gets Into Smartphone Games With TSUTAYA.com kiwi

TSUTAYA.com [J] has formed a business partnership with Internet Revolution [J] and opened the smartphone SNS game site “TSUTAYA.com kiwi.” [J]

With “TSUTAYA.com kiwi” you can enjoy 14 game titles such as “Pro Baseball Dream Nine,” “Everyone’s Pet Shop,” “Othello,” “Solitaire,” “Multi-Millionaire,” and this is the first time for a SNS game site to be linked with “T-point.”  Users who link their T-ID and TSUTAYA.com kiwi ID will get one T-point added to their T-points for every 100 yen purchased when they buy a coin within any “TSUTAYA.com kiwi” game.  It’s also possible to use T-points to purchase coins within the games.  Along with commencing this service, the first 10,000 people will be presented with 100 points as an opening campaign.  Additionally they are planning to bring out future cooperative campaigns at the 1,464 TSUTAYA shop locations within the whole of Japan.

Translation authorized by VSmedia

Sharp Ties Up With Japan’s Largest Video Rental Chain For Content Distribution To Android Tablets

Galapagos, the name of the South American islands where English naturalist Charles Darwin discovered rare species of creatures, is used as an adjective to describe the isolation of Japanese mobile industry from the world standard.

But Sharp dared to name their brand new digital tablet product “Galapagos[J]“, in spite of the word’s negative meaning, which makes us feel they’re committed to selling it in full throttle.   The word can be considered as a symbol of the evolution corresponding to intense changes, they say. Galapagos uses Android OS as its platform and has WiFi accessibility.  According to where you will use it, you may choose one from 5.5-inch model for mobile use and 10.8-inch model for home use.   It’s now being exhibited at Japan’s equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show, CEATEC Japan 2010 (Makuhari, Chiba), and will be on sale in December.

Sharp also announced they had tied up with CCC (Culture Convenience Club) operating Japan’s largest video rental store chain Tsutaya[J], the country’s equivalent of Blockbuster Video, and the two companies would launch a joint venture in November for hosting a content portal called Tsutaya Galapagos for distributing e-books, movies and music content to the Galapagos users.   Sharp invest 49% and CCC 51% into the joint venture.  30,000 items of the content such as newspapers and magazines will be available at the time of the portal launch in December, and a variety of the content will be expanded up to 230,000 items.

Sharp expects to enhance the content distribution service as to be used from their smartphone devices and LCD TVs in the future.


Video by: DigInfo.TV on YouTube

Video Rental Store Chain To Be Lead Shareholder Of Kakaku.com

Digital Garage's LogoKakaku.com's Logo

Logo of Culture Convenience Club Tsutaya's Logo

A Shibuya-based Internet conglomerate Digital Garage (DG) announced on Thursday that it would sell a half of all the shares of Kakaku.com[J], a B2C price comparison site and a subsidiary of DG, to Culture Convenience Club (CCC) owning Japan’s largest nationwide store chain providing video rental service called Tsutaya[J].   CCC plans to purchase 58,360 shares of Kakaku.com for approx. USD181M (USD JPY18.1B) on May 25th.

DG will obtain USD157M (JPY15.7B) as the profit arisen from the gap between its book price and this time’s evaluation price, and the company declare it in the business year ending in June, 2009.   DG’s two subsidiaries of Technorati Japan (search engine for blog) and DG Communications[J] (estate advertising) posted operating losses due to some reasons caused by this economic downturn.

DG also announced it would be partnering with CCC, which contains merging payment services being operated by the two companies and helping oversea cloud service providers to enter Japanese market.

Kakaku.com earns relatively higher profit among the DG group companies, however its parent company DG was forced to do so to cover the deficit before reporting figures.   This announcement pushed up DG’s share price to a limit-up in Friday morning, then in afternoon it declined under the previous day’s closing price.

In connection with this time’s new partnership, Joi Ito, managing director for DG and also known as the CEO of Creative Commons(CC), disclosed on his blog that he had joined the board of directors at CCC.   Now he is the management of CC and CCC as you see.