How Disney+, Netflix, and Others Are Opening Up Japan’s TV Industry – TBI Vision

I am Mita, your housekeeper

Japanese TV companies are going global, with Netflix, Disney+ and France Télévisions among those striking deals with local companies in recent months. Richard Middleton explores how it happened and what’s to come.

It’s been a busy six months for the Japanese TV industry, with local producers and broadcasters striking a series of deals with global partners, suggesting demand from both sides is on the rise.

The Japanese TV business is, of course, world-famous, in part because of its utterly unique entertainment shows, but it’s worth noting that this latest wave of pacts isn’t entirely new. . Formats such as Ninja Warrior, Dragon’s Den and Takeshi Castle have traveled extensively for decades, but it is the regularity and scale of transactions that are new.

Tomohisa Yamashita

cop lover

One such pact came in August, when Japan’s Hulu and France Télévisions teamed up with American producer Legendary Television and Dynamic Television on a drama based on the best-selling Japanese manga series.Kami, No Shizuku.

drops of god follows a woman who travels to Tokyo after her father’s death to find that he left her an extraordinary collection of wines in his will. However, to claim the inheritance, she must compete with a brilliant young winemaker her father has taken under his wing.

The 8 x 60 minute show is ambitious – it is shot on location in France, Italy and Japan – and its cross-border storyline fits in well with international partners. Legendary, Dynamic, France Télévisions and Hulu are associated as co-producers, Legendary managing worldwide sales outside France and Japan.

It’s also the latest in a series of scripted cops for Hulu Japan, which has already been on board. Miss Sherlock and Mediapro The head. The latter’s Tomohisa Yamashita will star in the new show.

Japan is Sinking: People of Hope

The Netflix export effect

Hulu Japan’s investment in international scripted projects has coincided with local spending by Netflix, which has seen it roll out a range of new series to its global subscribers in recent months.

First, his pact with Japan’s Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), which saw him launch two local broadcaster drama series and a reality show to his global audience. Japan is Sinking: People of Hope debuted in October, with a new episode dropping weekly on Netflix, while other TBS dramas Let’s get divorced should be available in 2023.

Produced by Isoyama Aki and scripted by Kudo Kankuro and Oishi Shizuka, the series tells the story of a married couple who want to separate, but have been kept together by circumstances.

A romance-themed reality show reboot The future newspaperoriginally airing on TBS 20 years ago, is also in the works, with the format following a man and woman who discover a mysterious diary that predicts they will fall in love – even though they don’t know each other.

For TBS’s Yayoi Nakatani, the deal allows his shows to travel. “We believe this new partnership will allow more people to enjoy TBS Group dramas and relaunch of popular TBS programs internationally,” he said when unveiling the deal.

Ryuji Komiya

Leap into partnerships

If Netflix’s success with shows from neighboring Korea is to be believed, its investment in Japan should also spark renewed interest in local partnerships for other international companies.

Some of these have already borne fruit: Japanese commercial broadcaster Fuji TV and producer-distributor group The Story Lab unveiled in September the first format resulting from their recently concluded co-development pact, with The rotation launched internationally.

The format first launched in Japan on Fuji TV in March and was first rolled out at MIPCOM in October. It came just eight months after Story Lab and Fuji’s Head of Formats, Ryuji Komiya, revealed their co-development pact and was jointly developed by the two companies, in conjunction with UK-based Rumpus Media.

The Story Lab has already worked with Nippon TV in Japan on the gameshow-meets-talent competition Nine windows and cooking show filmed remotely All together at the table, and wider interest in the country’s production sector is skyrocketing.


National transactions

It may be partly because of Netflix’s business. The streamer hasn’t just taken Japanese shows overseas – it’s also invested heavily locally, revealing in November that it will be increasing its domestic investments with a slate of new series and movies in both live-action and anime. .

Japan, Netflix said, “continues to be one of the most important countries for growth” and that was reflected in the more than 50 projects unveiled. Among the anime titles were The Seven Deadly Sins: The Edinburgh Grudgewhich is a two-part spin-off of the anime of the same name, from original manga author Nakaba Suzuki.

Kakegurui Twin is a prequel series to kakeguruiwhile the live broadcasts include a feature film adaptation of the Gundam manga, a second season of Alice in Borderlandintergenerational love story First love and manga adaptation Yu Yu Hakusho. The streamer has also entered into a partnership with Shoplifters filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda to develop two projects – a “big budget” movie and a drama series.

The commissions expanded an existing slate of 90 Japanese Netflix titles already available and followed the streamer’s partnership with Nippon TV, which saw it bring 30 drama and entertainment shows from the Tokyo-based network to its Asian subscribers.

No activity (Japan)

Incoming formats

For those who sell there, the Japanese market has also been buoyant. Streamer competition generates deals, with Amazon Prime Video acquiring rights to BBC Studios’ popular kitchen format (BBCS) Pastry shop in February, with an eight-part first season in the works.

The first four episodes of the Japanese version will be available through Amazon’s streaming service in the country from April 22, with the final four launching a week later on April 29. It is produced by Vesuvius and Beach House Pictures, owned by Blue Ant Media, with local actors Maki Sakai and Asuka Kudo.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK also welcomed the global formats, preparing to air a local version of Lineup Industries’ documentary format. Emergency call, marking his second show from the Dutch firm. NHK also acquired the rights to Wanted.

Local SVODs are also upgrading their games and seeking international rates to fuel interest. Wowow is among those who have done just that, picking up Swedish dramas Threesome, love me and Honorwhile Amazon ordered a Japanese adaptation of the Australian comedy No activity.

Young Kindaichi’s Files


The proliferation of activities does not seem to stop either. TBS today explained how it wants to expand its global presence by investing in international shows and entering into new co-production partnerships, with the company’s global producer Ryutaro Ichikawa detailing plans for the 2022 US SXSW festival.

The broadcaster recently launched a new division with a content production budget of 30 billion yen ($265.6 million), as part of its Vision 2030 program unveiled in May last year, and is also working with Disney+, Keshet International and Zee Entertainment Enterprises on new content initiatives. He also has a co-production partnership with Korean CJ ENM.

Nippon TV, meanwhile, revealed this week that it has entered into a co-pro partnership with Disney, which will see the two companies work together on local language content, including dramas, animations and variety shows. , which will stream on Disney+ for Japanese and global audiences.

The deal will also see content from both companies become available on each other’s respective platforms, with shows such as Nippon drama Young Kindaichi’s Files heading to Disney+ after debuting in April.

The deal marks the first time that Nippon TV content will be available to viewers around the world on the Disney platform, but as demand for the country’s content continues to soar, there’s no doubt that this will be the last.

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