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Media industry in Japan - statistics and facts

Japan is home to a large and highly developed media industry. The size of the media content market alone, which does not include devices or live events, amounted to about 11.9 trillion Japanese yen in 2018. It was part of the global entertainment and media market, which is expected to continue its growth trajectory in the coming years and to reach a size of about 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2024. The media content market can be divided into the three segments video-related, sound-related, and text-related media. Text-based media, which includes products such as newspapers, magazines, and books, historically predated other types of mass media. In the case of Japan, text-based media forms were understandable for many people even during pre-modern times, as private educational institutions, such as temple schools, assured a high literacy rate of the Japanese population. In recent years, print media experienced a considerable loss in audience reach due to the competition posed by online media. This can be seen, for instance, in the newspaper circulation as well as in the number of published magazine titles, which both decreased significantly.

Development of the modern media industry

Media environments tend to undergo changes in tandem with new technological developments. One of the major changes of the twentieth century was the advent of broadcasting. Terrestrial broadcasting started in Japan during the 1920s with radio broadcasts. Television became important from the 1950s on, as both the public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) as well as commercial broadcasters began their operations in 1953. As a breakdown of the media content market by medium shows, terrestrial broadcasting continues to be the largest medium today. As any household and business which possesses a device that can receive broadcasting signals is obliged to pay a fee to NHK, the number of NHK broadcasting subscribers can serve as an indicator for the audience size of the broadcasting market. Next to broadcasting, Japan spawned a number of highly creative media industries whose products were not only consumed domestically, but also became increasingly demanded by consumers in other countries. This includes the Japanese music industry, the film industry, the anime industry, the manga industry, and the video game industry. All sectors of the media industry currently face the challenge of adapting to a new media environment which is increasingly influenced by the internet.

The spread of online media

Internet usage became widespread in Japan during the early 2000s. By 2018, the online media content market made up about one third of the total media content market size. While many traditional media forms are stagnating or declining, internet-related media, such as video and music streaming services, continues to grow. Social media enables new ways of communicating with friends and customers. Digitalization forces media companies to employ different strategies to cope with this situation, such as introducing paywalls for digital content or using synergies between an already existing physical infrastructure and online purchase or advertising channels. The growing importance of the internet can also be observed when looking at current developments within the Japanese advertising industry. While television broadcasting remains one of the most important venues for the advertising industry in Japan, it was surpassed in terms of advertising expenditures by the internet for the first time in 2019.

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Media industry in Japan

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