The Amazon Prime Japan Market Sweet Spot

Apple TVIt’s astounding that Apple has sold AppleTV in Japan longer than iPhone without offering a single minute of Japanese TV content. AppleTV was initially offered as a device for playing iTunes movie content on a big screen. 10 years later on that still is AppleTV’s Japanese marketing pitch. If you want TV content on AppleTV in Japan use the NetflixHulu, Bandai Channel or AbemaTV apps.

Hulu (2014) and Netflix (2015) were the first companies from outside of Japan to offer licensed Japanese TV on-demand content, far behind the home competition. Netflix dipped its toe into the original content pool by picking up part of the third season production tab for the popular Shinya Shokudō (Midnight Diner) series (great show BTW). Hulu offers original Japanese content too.

And then there is Amazon Prime. A quick comparison.

Cloud Service JPY Monthly Cost
iCloud 2TB 1,300
Apple Music 817
iTunes Match 332
Netflix 1,050
Rounded Total ¥3,500

Amazon Prime costs about ¥400 a month. Customers get access to a lot of content on Prime Video and 1 millions songs on Prime Music. Not the whole thing of course but enough content for most of the people most of the time. Japanese friends who never cared about online content but occasionally buy things on Amazon are suddenly watching and listening to Amazon Prime.

What’s interesting about Prime Video however is that despite Amazon’s heavy content pitch to the hip young online generation, the popular movie title ranking is defintely not hip and young. More like the 60~70 retiree bracket.

The unequal comparison is simply meant to show the power of Amazon bundling which Apple does not do. Khoi Vihn made a very good point that Apple could encourage purchases by offering a discount window with video rentals.

That’s a start, but if Apple is getting into video streaming and content creation, they will have to intelligently streamline and bundle cloud services while being everything that all the other content providers are not. Japanese content included, preferrably geared for retirees.

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