IPG Mediabrands CEO Japan: Why Japan’s Legacy Media Industry is Ripe for Disruption

May 6, 2016 | Share this article

As Japan’s well-entrenched traditional media industry is disrupted by changing consumer behaviour, companies with legacy ties are being left increasingly exposed, suggests Anthony Plant in this guest article.

On the other side of this sophisticated and technologically-advanced consumer culture is the highly entrenched legacy media structure (TV, print and radio) holding back the advertising and marketing industry.

Foreign agencies often face a stiff competition against domestic agencies that control the market and are virtually competition-free. TV remains the number one media category and the legacy agencies hold exclusive access to media and celebrities.

Creativity is often expressed culturally, not conceptually which has helped shape the intrinsic Japanese culture and created an environment of insularity. And while consumers are exposed to the cutting edge of technology on one hand, when it comes to media, brands and agencies are expected to toe the line for the fear of disrupting the Japanese way of life.

Yet, amid this rather old-fashioned method of media and content consumption, there is a sea-change being seen, predominantly driven by digital and mobile. The country, which is the third largest economy after behemoths US and China, is also the world’s fourth largest in internet population with 73.6m users and home to a 102m strong mobile audience who are spending more time engaged with the internet content (source: ComScore). This trend is leading to not only more ad dollars being assigned to digital and mobile but also bringing disruptive changes to the legacy media space.

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