Streaming in Japan - Statistics & Facts

Online streaming services in Japan have increased considerably in popularity in recent years. This is true both for video and music streaming. The market size of paid video streaming services more than doubled between 2012 and 2018, reaching a value of around 220 billion Japanese yen for the first time in 2018. The sales revenue of paid music streaming services jumped from just 23.8 billion yen in 2017 to more than 40 billion yen in 2019. Despite a high internet penetration rate, Japan was comparably slow to embrace this new form of content distribution, as Japanese consumers have relied on traditional consumption channels and physical media longer than consumers in other countries. The current shift to online distribution can be seen as a phase of transitioning that can also be observed in other parts of the entertainment and content industry in Japan.

The high growth rates of subscription-based video and music streaming in recent years stem in part from increased competition in the market. While free streaming services such as YouTube and Nico Nico Douga have been an integral part of the Japanese video streaming landscape since the mid-2000s, subscription-based video streaming did not take off to the same degree as it did in Western countries. Despite Hulu being active on the Japanese video on demand market since 2011, it was the arrival of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 2015 that marked the beginning of increased competition for local players. Today these include, among others, U-NEXT, NTT Docomo’s dTV and dAnimeStore, Fuji TV’s FOD Premium, Abema Premium, and Tsutaya TV. With Disney rolling out its Disney Deluxe service in early 2019, another strong contender entered the video on demand market.

The developments in the music streaming market followed a similar pattern. Apple Music, Google Play Music and Amazon Prime Music entered the Japanese music streaming market in 2015, followed by Spotify in 2016 and YouTube Music in 2018. Initially, music streaming services suffered from a limited selection of songs, as many Japanese record labels saw streaming as a threat to highly profitable physical sales. Due to the relatively high fragmentation of the Japanese music market, streaming services also had to negotiate with numerous companies over licensing agreements. The reluctant stance of the labels has been changing in recent years, as a huge but shrinking CD market makes alternative revenue streams necessary. Consequently, streaming revenues increased and overtook downloads for the first time in 2018, making up 54 percent of digital music sales during that year. Domestic players in the Japanese music streaming market include LINE Music, Uta Pass, AWA, D-Hits, and RecMusic.

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Streaming in Japan

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