Reporting on the size of the digital content industry in Japan, an AP news feed on AOL news indicates that the digital content market size in Japan has grew to 2.694 trillion yen in 2007, just under 3.4 per cent growth.

The figures come as the Digital Content Association of Japan released their Digital Content White Paper 2008, which will interest readers of Japanese, on 1 September.

According to the association’s Press Release (PDF file in Japanese), 2007 saw visual content emerge with a clear margin as the largest contributor to digital content sales, reaching 30 per cent of total sale (540.8 billion yen, an increase of 8.7 per cent). Music was down to 26 per cent of the total, showing a negligible decrease in sales to 596.5 billion yen (12.5 billion yen down from the previons year). Game software also experienced a small decrease to total 767.7 billion yen, while digital publishing sales increased by over 10 per cent to reach 789.7 billion yen.

While most digital content was still predominantly sold as packaged media (66 per cent of total), consumption through mobile phones increased to reach 21.6 per cent of the total, ahead of online sales 11.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the whole (media) content market size stood at 13.8 trillion yen, an ever so slight increase on 2006 of 0.3 per cent. 5.8 trillion of this was in publishing, 4.84 trillion in visual content, 1.86 trillion in music and 1.29 trillion in games. With regards to distribution medium, 48.6 per cent were packaged goods, 29.2 per cent via broadcasting, 12.8  per cent through location-based distribution (cinemas, game arcades, concerts), 5 per cent online, and 4.3 per cent via mobile.

Not surprisingly, packaged media has been steadily decreasing over the past 5 years as online and mobile sales continue to grow.


Citing the positive effects telecommunications and mobile networks have had on developing countries, the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. has announced plans to invest in content and media companies, and is understood to be exploring how it can best invest in creative industries. The news article at digit describes both the profitability (for investors) and value (for residents) mobile telephony has provided in Africa in recent years.

The World Bank and the IFC are making investments in media and content in the belief that it is part of the ‘next cycle’. For the World Bank, the investment appears to be based on the rationale that a) it will provide high return on investment, and b) it will do good things for people in developing countries.

It also assumes that content is one of the next industries to experience rapid growth. Yet (to take a highly nuanced account of the history of content) content has ‘always’ been around, and it’s distribution has been limited by and reliant on the production and distributive technologies of the day.

Suffice to say, the announcement is further evidence of the growing consensus of the complementarities between network infrastructure and content, and that the presence of content supports the growth of ICT networks and economic development. Content creation however, is arguably a much tougher investment than network infrastructure, so it will be interesting to see how the World Bank chooses to enter the content fray.