Monday, November 5, 2007

Stop the Presses! There's a Variety Japan Now?


I was at a birthday party last Saturday and I met a woman named Atsuko Kohata who is (I think) the lone reporter for the newly started Variety Japan (?!).

Yes, you read that right, Variety Asia was apparently not cutting the mustard since it's all in English.

Launched November 1st, Variety Japan is one stop source for worldwide entertainment news that is all in Japanese. Part of their content consists of articles translated the English language editions, but there's also original content (limited so far, it seems) that's being produced for the site (interviews mainly).

Okay, well, that's cool I suppose, but forgive me for asking the big question: Why?

The implication with the Variety Japan launch is that Japanese companies want to expand abroad with more export minded content. But the problem with the export of Japanese media abroad has never been a lack of willingness from companies in the West-- nor a lack of interest from Japanese companies themselves. The problem has been that many Japanese media companies have an over-inflated sense of their own self-worth and, for example, demand premium prices for films that would have no chance in hell of recouping their costs in the foreign market. This is on top of numerous stories I have heard about hostile foreign sales branches for some major Japanese studios makes me highly skeptical of this whole thing.

Perhaps Don (Ryuganji) or Jason Gray can offer some insights on this? (Know anything guys?) But while I wish Variety Japan the best of luck, I hope that the Japanese companies receive a complimentary change of attitude with foreign film festivals and distribution companies included with the yearly subscriptions.

Link here.

2 comments:

Don said...

Unfortunately I don't know anything about VJ, although I did see their logo on signs fluttering around Omotesando Hills the other day. I'm sure Jason or Mark Schilling know the story...

logboy said...

i'm disappointed it's not in english. a good daily, regular site as per oh-so-many japanese-lanuguage one's, would, if appearing in english, be of some actual use. that said, there's some clear benefit to not have a tonne of dross to read through from all those fairly-standardized (and potentially manipulated :) too) press conferences and photo calls.

i'd push for a good overall source of trailers that didn't require trawling through japanese listings and dealing with numerous file formats, with accompanying key cast information and a synopsis. would work wonders... and, yes, some change to how keen japanese companies manage to get past the idea that 200m americans doesn't equate to 200m interested parties.