Press Conference by President Hiroshi Hayakawa(Outline)

March 25, 2014


Hiroshi Hayakawa, President
Masaya Fujinoki, Executive Director
Takashi Hirajo, Member of the Board in charge of Programming and Entertainment Division

Audience Rating Update:

Hiroshi Hayakawa:

The fiscal year of 2013 will end at the end of this week, on the 30th. We are currently second in the all-day and the golden-time ratings, and those are likely to be the final results for the fiscal year. The prime-time fiscal year ratings as of yesterday are 12.0% for NTV and 12.2% for TV Asahi. So we are leading the top with a 0.2% margin. I do not think we'll fall behind in the prime-time rating, but NTV also has a strong line-up this week, so there is still a possibility of sharing the top with NTV as a tie. Having achieved the top positions in golden and prime-time ratings for the calendar year of 2013, if we can lead the top in the prime-time for the fiscal year of 2013, I think we can say we did a very good job. We still have issues and weaknesses to overcome to win the top in all three categories in both calendar and fiscal years, and I believe it will take time to enhance and improve ourselves further to win a triple crown. In fact, taking enough time and challenge the triple crowns sometime in between now and our 60th anniversary in 2018 is the goal we have set for "TV Asahi Digital 5 Vision Second Stage" starting this coming April 1st.

Takashi Hirajo:

As of yesterday, the average ratings for the fiscal year are: 7.7% for all-day and 11.8% for golden-time placing us second in both categories, 12.2% for prime-time and 7.9% for prime-2, placing us at the top in both categories. I think this ranking will stay the same for the next 6 days until the end of this fiscal year. That means we will close the fiscal year as: the second in all-day for the second consecutive year and the 4th time since the launch of the station; within the second place in golden-time for the second time since the launch of the station; and the top in prime-time for the second consecutive year and the second time since the launch of the station; and the top in prime-2 for the nine consecutive years.

Next is the audience ratings for the second half of the fiscal year that is about to finish in 6 days, from last October until the end of this week. The ratings are: 7.7% for all-day and 12.3% for golden-time placing us second in both categories, and 12.6% for prime-time and 7.7% for prime-2, placing us at the top for both categories. We are at the top in prime-time and prime-2 ratings, and second in all-day and golden-time ratings. We expect to close the second half at the current positions: we will finish within the second place in all-day for the fourth consecutive half-year period as well as the fourth time since the launch of the station; the second place or more in golden-time for the second time since the launch of the station; the top in prime-time for the fourth consecutive half-year period and also for the fourth time since the launch of the station; and the top in prime-2 for the eighteenth consecutive half-year period.

As for the January to March period, we expect to close the quarter as the runner-up in the three categories, all-day, golden, and prime-time, and at the top for prime-2 with the rating of 7.8%.

Now, the rating results for individual programs. First, the results for our dramas: "Aibou: Tokyo Detective Duo - Season 12" has completed last week. Its average rating for the two quarters starting from last October is 17.4% and for the current quarter is 17.6%. The first episode of the season 12 achieved 19.7%, a tie rating to the second highest of the series. The New Year's special episode achieved the record high of 19.6%. And the final special episode aired last week achieved 19.6%. As all the special episodes recorded over 19% ratings, its average rating for the two quarters starting from October is 17.4%, which is the fourth highest rating among its series. Among the serial drama of January-March quarter, "Aibou Seaon12" has led the top rating by far among the commercial broadcasters with the quarter average of 17.6%. Such strong rating gives us high expectations for the film version of the drama, "Aibou - The Movie 3 - Locked Island! Special Mission in the Midst of the Ocean", which is to premiere on April 26th. "Grill Room Investigation", starring Yuki Amami for the first time in a TV Asahi drama with the script written by Yumiko Inoue, has achieved an average audience rating of 12.9% for the January-March period. It is the third highest rating among all serial dramas of commercial stations aired during this period, which I think is a job well done. "The Taichi Yamada Drama Special: Time Doesn't Stand Still", a story about a shattered family struggling to start over after the Tohoku Earthquake, won the Galaxy Award for February. As for our prime-time variety shows, I've already announced it before, but "Beat Takashi's TV Tackle" aired last Monday, 24th was the last broadcast of the show on 21:00 slot, and it will move to Monday 23:00 slot from next week starting on the 31st. "Encyclopedia of Goose Bumpy Scoop Videos" on Tuesday 19:00 slot will end as a regular program at the end of this quarter, but it will be produced as a special program in the future. In fact, two specials are already lined up as the coming turn of the fiscal year special programming. As for our news and information programs, "Hodo Station" has an average rating of 13.7% for this quarter. It's been two years since it had achieved such a good rating in April-June quarter in 2012. "Super J Channel" will finish this quarter with an average rating of 9.4%, which is the second highest rating for a quarter in its history. It broke the record high since the show started in April 1997 on the second week of February when it achieved a weekly average rating of 11.4%. Its average monthly rating of 10.3% in February was also the highest ever. As for other programs, "Life Paradise" is now averaging around 12% for this period, which is also its record high for a quarter. During this quarter, it has recorded over 15% rating twice, which is again the first time ever since the launch of the program.

Sales Results:

Hiroshi Hayakawa:

The year-on-year results for the month of February are: 103.8% for time-sales, 119.3% for spot-sales, making the total sales of 112%. As for time-sales, we have made our goal for our coverage of the Sochi Olympics in addition to a satisfactory regular business, which enabled us to surpass last year's result. Spot-sales surpassed last's figure by almost 20% on the back of "economic upturn trend" and "last minute demand prior to the rise in consumer tax" which spurred big demand from the advertisers. TV Asahi was able to rewrite the records for both sales and share for the month of February. On a year-on-year basis, spot share has continued to improve since October before last, for 17 months in a row. For the first time since the launch of our station, we were a runner-up in a race of spot-sales for a single month with a very small margin from the top. February was in many ways a remarkable month, indeed.

As for the month of March, the year-on-year sales are: more than 92% for time-sales, more than 103% for spot-sales, making the total sales of more than 99%. We were predicting a difficult time for time-sales this march, because there is no high-income major events like "World Baseball Classic" and "FIFA World Cup Brazil Asian Qualifiers" of last year, and we did not think we'll be able to surpass last year's figure. However, the fiscal year end special programs are selling very well, and we are now confident that we can meet the budget. I think the most outstanding time-sales deal for the month is going to be "2 Consecutive Nights Drama Special-Musashi Miyamoto", lined up as one of our 55th anniversary special. The drama being a historical drama starring Takuya Kimura, it is attracting much interest from advertisers and boosting its sales. I think that "Musashi-Miyamoto" together with other drama line-ups of TV Asahi 55th anniversary specials have hiked the strength of our brand value one step higher. I believe our higher brand value will contribute much to our future sales.

On the other hand, spot-market situation in general had been very active from last fall to February but has quieted down in March staying almost unchanged from last year. However, with regard to TV Asahi, we are keeping up with our sales on back of stable audience ratings and it is very likely that we can improve our share in March, as well as over the whole fiscal year starting last April. I was a little worried about the slow market condition in spring of the fiscal year 2013, that is in April and May, but we were able to ride on the momentum we had created a year before in the fiscal year of 2012 and to close the gap against the top-ranking stations. So, likewise we would like to keep up such momentum and make further sales efforts in the next fiscal term as well.

As for the month of April so far, the year-on-year sales are: more than 97% for time-sales, more than 65% for spot-sales, making the total sales of more than 79%. As for sales of April reshuffled programs, dramas and variety shows in prime-time are selling very well, and other programs in other time slots are doing well, too. In the past few years, especially during the last two years, we were able to reward our advertisers with high audience ratings in return for the business, which I believe is the reason behind our high evaluation in the market. Our spot-sales for the month of April has kicked off all right. I imagine that advertisers must be quite concerned about the rise in consumption tax, but I've heard that some of the advertisers are taking aggressive actions against such negative factor so as to overcome it. I am sure that we need to keep watching the effect of the rise in consumption tax, but I intend to continue our aggressive stance in the fiscal year of 2014 by being in close touch with our advertisers and advertising companies.

Revenues from Non-broadcasting Businesses:

Masaya Fujinoki:

Tickets for our large outdoor event "Tokyo Metropolitan Rock Festival" went on sale for the general public on March 16th, and 32,000 tickets were sold out on the same day. The event is in its second year this year, and we owe this sellout to the success of the last year. The line-up of performers include popular artists like Ulfuls, Elephantkashimashi, KYARI PAMYU PAMYU, and it will be held on May 24th (Saturday) and 25th (Sunday) at Wakasu Park in Shinkiba, Tokyo. Another thing I want to mention is the "Opening Series" of the "EX THEATER ROPPONGI". It started last year on the 20th of November with B'z special live concert, and ended with the closing act of "Quartet of Memories" starring Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. The occupancy rate during the four months of November tills the end of March is 83.6% with the total of about 100,000 audiences. The ratio in seating formats between a standing position and seated position is about half-and-half with 41 days with standing format and 42 days with seated format. About 60% of the performances were live music events, and about 30% were made up by theatrical performances, Rakugo, Japanese sit-down comedy, and film previews. A little less than 10% was used for business and for in-house purposes. Reservation status including tentative reservations after April is stable at 85%.

I will now report on two video related items. We are currently putting various business ideas into action as advertisement means for "Aibou - The Movie 3 - Locked Island! Special Mission in the Midst of the Ocean". We are selling "AIBOU-Bread" this year again. Yamazaki-Baking Co. is baking the bread again. Furthermore, we will collaborate with Lawson convenience store this year and sell two products, a "tea-flavored melon-bread" and a "tea-flavored steamed cake", which are available only in Kanto area. In-store announcements at Lawson stores are made by recorded voices of Yutaka Mizutani who plays Ukyo Sugishita and Hiroki Narimiya who plays Toru Kai. Lawson and TV Asahi will work as a strong partner in promoting the movie by presenting a PR of the movie, and selling its tickets with complimentary original goods at Lawson stores. This time, as a new challenge, we produced "AIBOU: the Movie3 -Overture" for online-video distributions. We will start streaming the complete 4 episodes on NTT Docomo's dVIDEO . We will stream only the first episode on TeleAsa Doga for free of charge. The length of each episode is about 11 minutes, and the total length is about 44 minutes. In addition to the two main characters in the special task unit and the regular casts in AIBOU, casts from AIBOU movies including Yumiko Shaku and Toru Kazama will also appear in the overture. The overture is produced by "ALL-AIBOU STAFF" with the script written by Masashi Todayama who also wrote the TV drama series and "AIBOU: The Movie1", and directed by Toshiaki Kondo who is also the director of the TV drama series. The overtures are produced to build up stronger expectations for the coming movie during the break of one month between the last episode on TV and the release of the movie in the theaters. We have planned so that the fans will enjoy the world of AIBOU even more and their anticipation for the movie will rise to the maximum. "AIBOU Exhibition Premium 3" will also start on April 2nd at Matsuzakaya Ueno in Tokyo, and it will go on a nationwide tour. In addition to this, almost one hundred sales items, novelized and official books, blue-rays of past movies are already on sale. We are using various media and versatile distribution channels to promote the coming third movie version of our flagship TV drama.

The next topic is "Crayon Shinchan". This is also another promotional effort using the internet distribution media. As a promotion of "Crayon Shinchan: The Movie, Gachinko! Robo-Daddy's Counterattack" to be released on April 19th, we have started streaming eight episodes of "Crayon Shinchan" each month starting on March 15th as a paid subscription. Episodes are streamed on NTT Docomo's dVideo, KDDI's au Video Pass, J:COM's Megapack , all of which offers a flat-rate video-streaming service.

Takashi Hirajo:

I will report on the films we have invested in. "Doraemon the Movie: New-Nobita and Daimajin: Peko and Five Adventurers", premiered on this March 8th, is in its third week now. Total audiences during the 17 days as of yesterday were 1,613,644 and the box office revenue was 1,799,323,300 yen. It ranked as the top in the weekly ranking for the first week, but Disney's "Frozen" has broken in for the second and third week to make it the runner-up after "Frozen". Compared to previous movies, its revenue amounts to 85.9% against the most successful Doraemon movie in the past, "Doraemon the Movie: Nobita in the Secret Gadget's Museum". Compared to "Doraemon: Nobita and the Miracle Island" which was released two years ago recording the second highest revenue of the series, it is 119.2%. It is keeping a pace somewhere between these two, so I think we can expect another good result. At current pace, we can still hope for a record breaking result, as it is already at a pace that surpasses the second best in the past.

On the Top Management List Announced on March 6th.

Hiroshi Hayakawa:

As we take on a holding company structure, our field of business is likely to expand great deal as we undertake new services, consolidate our group companies, strengthen operations of the three broadcast media, terrestrial broadcasting, BS and CS, and/or make strategic expansion to other media surrounding broadcasting. The second point is that I have reached the mandatory retirement age as a president. I came to the conclusion that a structure with a chairman and a president at the top will work better for us. We must not let the on-going good flow of TV Asahi's audience ratings and business improvement to slow down, in fact, it is our utmost responsibility to keep this flow alive and thriving. And so, I decided on a structure where I will be the chief executive officer for the management of the entire group and execution of business operation. Needless to say, Mr. Yoshida is the president, and we can benefit from his experience and knowledge as we work together with concerted efforts to bring up TV Asahi onto a higher level. That is the reason behind my being appointed as the CEO this time.