Media Landscape Overview
Japan has one of the most unique media landscapes in the world where traditional mass media have an enormous effect on public opinion and trends. Unlike media in many other developed countries, traditional media in Japan such as newspapers, magazines, and television are more influential than their online counterparts. Trends are often first solidified in traditional media before spreading to the Internet. In other words, main news stories often appear in print before heading online. This is especially true for B2B news.
Many younger viewers do not have a traditional TV set in their rooms, but many smart devices give access to traditional TV content. More than 60% of the content aired on TV is viewed by younger generations online. This figure includes sources such as YouTube.
- LINE, Japan’s top mobile messenger, is the leading social media platform for all age groups in Japan with over 50 million users and counting. Its services for business are primarily aimed at B2C companies, allowing specialized accounts, messaging, and branded stickers/stamps for use in conversations.
- Twitter is a highly popular service due to anonymous usernames and the character count limitation providing a huge advantage to Japanese users (Kanji nearly doubles the amount of words that can fit into the character limit). Half of all social network users use Twitter and there are expected to be 26 million users by the end of 2015.
- Facebook has over 22 million users (as of January 2015) in Japan, overtaking the once leading mixi. It is still growing in popularity and has higher daily use rates than the global average.
- Instagram is gaining recognition in Japan, particularly in the fields of fashion, design, and food. It is currently trending for teenagers and women in their 20s.
- LinkedIn has been struggling in Japan and not gained wide usage outside of Japanese employees in Western-based companies. This is primarily because it is currently perceived as a “job site,” which carries an unhealthy connotation in a market where lifetime employee is considered the norm and switching companies is often frowned upon.
- Curation-based news apps for mobile, such as Smartnews, Gunocy, antenna, and Newspicks, have been rapidly gaining subscribers since 2014. These apps feature articles from their mass media and blog partners, host native ads on their own servers, and distribute content to subscribers based on each user’s unique preferences to spread news and build buzz among audiences of all ages.