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Japan's VOD Crown Still up for Grabs

Global streaming services compete with Japanese providers for viewers, with no clear winner in sight

December 19, 2016 | Video

Video on demand (VOD) services are continuing to gain traction with consumers in Asia-Pacific , where a variety of international and homegrown services are vying for viewers’ attention. In Japan, a market which leads the region in VOD subscribers, local providers are competing with global brands like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix for audience share. So far, there has been no clear winner.

Primary Video-on-Demand (VOD) Service Used by VOD Viewers in Japan, Nov 2016 (% of respondents)

According to a November 2016 survey of the most popular VOD services in Japan, conducted by Trend Lab and Rakuten, homegrown internet TV company AbemaTV was the most popular VOD service, mentioned by 41% of VOD viewers. Foreign-import video services Amazon Prime Video and Hulu ranked second and third, with shares of 26% and 17%, respectively.

The popularity of Amazon Prime Video and Hulu among VOD viewers is not limited to Trend Lab and Rakuten’s report. Other studies of VOD viewing habits in Japan also point to the popularity of these two US-based services. In an October 2016 survey by ICT Research & Consulting of VOD services used by the country’s VOD viewers, 45% of respondents mentioned Amazon Prime Video, while 27% mentioned Hulu, the two most popular answers.

Weekly Time Spent Using Select Video-on-Demand (VOD) Services Among VOD Viewers in Japan, Nov 2016 (hours)

When examining weekly time spent viewing various VOD services, Trend Lab and Rakuten found domestic provider dTV was the top service, watched an average of 7.9 hours per week, followed by Amazon Prime Video at 7.4 hours per week.

Given this patchwork of viewing options, it seems likely that no single VOD service will come to dominate the Japanese market anytime soon.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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