Press Conference by President Hiroshi Hayakawa(Outline)

April 22, 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 situation of our audience ratings for this new fiscal year is in a rather difficult situation. The three detective dramas, for which we are known to be good at, all started with a single digit rating, and on top of that, many of our variety shows seem to have lost their strong drive. So, for this April-June period, we will execute belt-tightening measures for each one of our programs by implementing strategies to improve and to strengthen them. And for the coming July-September period, we are planning to strengthen our programming, which will include a summer festival type of event, to boost our ratings. And by this fall quarter, starting from October, we should be back in the race for the top position again. This means it would take that much time for us to reverse, or rather, to recover ourselves. However, I am quite confident that our colleagues at programming and on the field will prove themselves by seizing the right moment to fight back. Among programs which were reshuffled in the day-time slots, "Tetsuko's Room" has been doing well so far with an average rating of 5.3%, but the rating tends to go down with the following cooking show aired from Osaka, and as a result the overall average audience ratings for the noon slot remains unchanged. As viewing habit has not been established yet for this time slot we hope it will soon. "Wide! Scramble" has undergone renovation and it now starts at 10:30, and since HUT in the 11 o'clock slot is about 20%, the show achieves the top rating for the slot when it gets a 5% rating as it did yesterday. Its average share is close to 18%, making it a runner-up in the share. So I think we can say it is doing quite well. The renovation has given a brighter look to the studio and its mature and relaxed ambience is very well received. Perhaps, we could bring out more of Mr. Daijiro Hashimoto, the new anchor's personality. That is to say, we should let him show his experiences as a former governor and a NHK anchorman. And I think the critical factor for its success is how much news, information, and projects that are attractive to the audiences, in this case mostly women at home, we can put into the show at the right timing. We also have encouraging news that "Good! Morning" aired on every weekday in the early morning slot has now secured a steady 3rd place, and our flagship news shows "Super J Channel" and "Hodo Station" are keeping the top level. Also, some of the newly programmed 30-minutes late-late-night variety shows, following our on-going late-night variety shows that are given a unique category name of "neo-variety", show potential for success. The two intellectual-infotainment shows featuring Akira Ikegami and Osamu Hayashi also kicked off quite well. And "The Reaper: Shinigami-kun" featured in "The Friday Night Drama" has achieved 11.2%, which is quite a high rating for the time slot. So I think what is important for us now is to be patient and keep fighting.

Takashi Hirajo:

The current annual ratings since the first week of January are: 7.6% for all-day, 11.4% for golden-time, and 12.0% for prime-time placing us second in the three categories. We are at the top for prime-2 with 7.7%. As for the April-June period, we are somewhat struggling though we are still in its third week: 6.9% for all-day, placing us second, 9.9% for golden-time, placing us fifth, and 10.5% for prime-time, placing us third. As for prime-2, we are at the top with 7.3%. I think the weak performances of the new programs and the special programs at the start of the fiscal year, and not having a booster like "ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating" that we had last year are the cause of our setbacks. The ratings at the turn of the fiscal year were: 7.0% for all-day, 10.5% for golden-time, and 11.0% for prime-time, placing us third in all three categories. We have kept the top position in prime-2 with 7.2%. Again, I think the cause for the setback are not having booster programming that we had at the same time last year and weak performances of our variety shows in general.

As for the rating results of the individual programs, all of the three new prime-time dramas starting in the April-June period had a rather slow start, in the 9% range. The first episode of "TEAM: Tokyo MPD Special Task Force" got 9.1%. "Fat Detective" featured in "The Thursday Night Mysteries" slot started with 9.7%. "Border" got 9.7% for its first two episodes. "The Reaper: Shinigami-kun" featured in "The Friday Night Drama" slot has kicked off very well for this time slot categorized as a "neo-variety slot" with the rating of 11.2%.
We reshuffled two prime-time variety shows, and "This is the key!! Akira Ikegami's News Academy", aired from 21:00 on Mondays succeeding "Beat Takeshi's TV Tackle", had an average rating of 10.0% for the first two shows. The rating for "Hodo Station" on Monday has been weaker compared to other days of the week, but this new program is creating a good flow into "Hodo Station", and we are expecting the ratings for both shows to increase as the two shows create a synergy effect.. The two preceding specials introducing the launch of "Osamu Hayashi's Now or Never Infotainment" were very successful and the show kicked off very well with 12.4%. "Beat Takeshi's TV Tackle" in its new time-slot had an average rating of 8.0% for the first four shows, which is higher than the rating it had in the previous time slot. It is showing a steady rating of 9.1% for its third show and 8.2% for the fourth that was aired yesterday. As for our daily weekday daytime shows, the average rating of the first sequence of "Wide! Scramble" starting from 10:30 was 3.6% as of yesterday, which makes it a runner-up in this time-slot. Also, "Tetsuko's Room" has an average rating of 5.3% so far, which also makes us the runner-up among the commercial broadcasters for the noon time-slot. There are three variety shows aired during this time slot, and "Tetsuko's Room" ranks as the top among the three. But we are losing our viewers to other stations with "Emiko Kaminuma's Chitchat Cooking", a cooking show that follows "Tetsuko's Room". I am afraid its average rating is 4.2%, placing it at the fourth place among the commercial broadcasters. Our daily weekday morning show, "Good! Morning", is doing well recording its second highest average rating for the past three weeks for both its first half and second half sequences, 4.3% for the first and 6.5% for the second. It has kept up its steady rating yesterday with 7.2%.

As for the upcoming programs, there are big sport events lined up on the list. "FIFA Women's World Cup Final Qualifiers / AFC Women's Asian Cup 2014" will start from May 14th. On June 25th, our station will cover "FIFA World Cup Brazil Japan vs. Columbia". In addition to these, "Pan Pacific Swimming Championships" will start on August 21st, marking our strong sports lineup starting next month.

Also I am happy to report that our programs have been awarded with various media awards. Our 55th anniversary special program aired on two consecutive evenings, "Olympics Ransom", aired on November 30th and December 1st last year, was awarded the 22nd Hashida Award. Also, "The Scoop Special: 68 Years After the War Special Project-Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Bombs - The U.S. Shadow Over Nuclear Energy in Japan" aired last year on August 11th was awarded the gold medal in "Politics" category and the bronze medal in "International Affairs" category at New York Festival International Television & Film Award. "ANN News Special Program: Super J Channel Special-Full Scale Report from the Disaster Affected Area after Three Years since the Great East Japan Earthquake ~ This is What eThree Years Hence' is All About" received a monthly Galaxy Award for the month of March 2014.

Sales Results:

Hiroshi Hayakawa:

The year-on-year results for the month of March are: 93.5% for time-sales, 105.0% for spot-sales, making the total sales of 100% sharp. We were predicting a difficult time for time-sales this year and we did not think we'll be able to surpass last year's figure, because there are no big sport events like "World Baseball Classic" and "FIFA World Cup Brazil Asian Qualifiers" that we had last year. So instead, we have put our sales efforts in the year's end special programs such as our 55th Anniversary Special Programming of two consecutive nights drama "Musashi Miyamoto", and we were able to achieve our budget as planned. As for spot-sales, signs of the "economic upturn trend" and the "last minute demand prior to the rise in consumer tax" continued in March. Under such environment, we proceeded with our sales activities strategically and we were able to increase regional spot share to 22.7%, up by 0.3 points. This is a record high in share for the month of March. And we have accomplished the record high in our sales as well. We were also able to increase our year-on-year share for 18 consecutive months.

As for the month of April, the year-on-year sales are: more than 99% for time-sales, more than 96% for spot-sales, making the total sales of more than 97%. As for time-sales, not only the sales of regular programs, prime-time variety shows and dramas that underwent the April Reshuffling, but also sales of other time slots are doing well. While for spot-sales, I think the increase in consumer tax is affecting the sales. We are already at the end of April now, but the figures are not improving, and it seems that Tokyo area in general won't be reaching last year's level. We are planning to catch-up with our sales of May and onwards.

And for the month of May, the year-on-year sales are: more than 98% for time-sales, more than 72% for spot-sales, making the total sales of more than 84%. As I have mentioned before, time-sales for regular programs are selling well. For May, we are placing efforts on sales of "FIFA Women's World Cup Final Qualifiers / AFC Women's Asian Cup 2014" and aiming to surpass last year's sales. As for spot-sales in general, we cannot say that concerns about the consumer tax increase are wiped out. But since some of the advertisers postponed their sales campaigns from April to May, we expect the market to start moving soon. The business genres that are expected to do well are pharmaceutical, cosmetic/household detergent, and service/entertainment.

Revenues from Non-broadcasting Businesses:

Masaya Fujinoki:

A former Beatles member Paul McCartney will be back in Japan in May again and we are one of the main organizers of his two concerts at the National Stadium in Tokyo. The tickets went for general sale on April 19th, Saturday, and 100,000 tickets for the two concerts are almost sold out. Because of the huge response and requests for tickets still pouring in, we are now studying the feasibility of selling additional extra seats. When Paul McCartney came to Japan for the first time in 11 years in November last year, three concerts that we had organized were held in Tokyo. The concerts were a big success with a total of 150,000 audiences. Paul literary mesmerized the fans with standard Beatles numbers, singing one song after another. At that time, tickets were sold out quickly, too, and fans were asking for additional concerts. This time, I have heard that this second visit to Japan was set up on very short notice on Paul McCartney's own desire to give concerts here again because he was very satisfied with his concert and the reception he had received in Japan. This time, the venue is the National Stadium, which is planned to be demolished in July for reconstruction purpose for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. So, he will be the first and the last solo artist from abroad to perform a live concert there. It will also be the first outdoor concert in Japan for Paul. It will be held on the weekend of May 17th and 18th, Saturday and Sunday. I am sure that fans will experience another kind of excitement there.

The next topic is also concert-related. It is related to our popular drama series "AIBOU: Tokyo Detective Duo". The movie "Aibou-The Movie 3-Locked Island! Special Mission in the Midst of the Ocean" will premiere this coming Saturday. We are going to organize a new project called "Hibiki (Sound)" in June, a concert where fans can enjoy music and screen image from "AIBOU". Thanks to the fans, there was a big response and tickets are already sold out. In this concert, best scenes from "AIBOU" TV drama and movie are specially edited to be shown on the screen. The scenes are accompanied by impressive live music including its opening theme played by an orchestra and a band. The composer of the music pieces in "AIBOU", Yoshihiro Ike, will be the conductor and Ukyo Sugishita, played by Yutaka Mizutani, will be the navigator on the screen. We are also planning to have a special talk event with guests, so I am sure it will become a premium concert where fans can enjoy and share the world of "AIBOU" in a new refreshing way.

The next report is on three content-related topics. The first is "Ninja-Hattorikun". This animation was broadcast in Japan in the past, but this time, "NINJA Hattorikun Returns", produced in India in 2012, will be reimported and sold as DVD. We have also started streaming it via DoCoMo "dVideo" from April 15th. In Japan, it is the first sequel in 25 years. DVD will be for sale on July 11th from TC Entertainment, with a sub language recorded in Hindi. A total of 26 stories (53 episodes) are streamed via "dVideo".

The second topic is about format sales. Recently at "MIPTV", one of the world's biggest content markets held in Cannes, France, we have succeeded in closing our first format deal with TVGlobo, the largest TV broadcaster in Brazil (Latin America). Most of our format sales are taking place in Asia, and this was our first in the South and Central America region. The English name of the format is "Villagevoices" and it was originally a format for a segment of "Challengers on Fire", a very popular show of TV Asahi, with the segment title of "Surprise Karaoke Challenge in a Village". I will report again when details and broadcast dates are fixed.

The last topic is about TV Asahi's mascot character "Go-chan." He will celebrate his third birthday on May 5th. We will hold "Go-chan. GOGO-Party" as an event to celebrate his birthday at the atrium of TV Asahi for four days in Golden Week, from May 3rd to the 6th. The event being just before AFC Women's Asian Cup in May and FIFA World Cup in June, Go-chan and soccer will make a powerful collaboration. There will be lots of attractions such as free of charge games and gifts. This year, the super-popular character "Hello Kitty" who celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, will come and celebrate Go-chan's birthday together.

Takashi Hirajo:

Next is my report on the films that we have invested in. "Aibou-The Movie 3" will premiere this week, but now let me report on other films. First, "Crayon Shin-chan: This is serious! Robo-Daddy Fights Back" premiered last Saturday. It started very well. The total audiences for Saturdays and Sundays are 294,599 and the box office revenue was 338,930,000 yen, which is up 150.4% against last year's film, which is a great start. As for weekend ranking, since "Frozen" has been at the top for six consecutive weekends, it is ranked as third at the moment. And "LDK" starring Ayame Gouriki premiered one week earlier. The total audience of this film for the first 9 days is 152,813 and box office revenue is 176,190,000yen. It ranked 6th in last week's weekend ranking. As for other films, "Masked-Rider" and "Doraemon" are doing well, too. "Heisei-Riders vs. Showa-Riders, Masked Riders Battle feat. Super-Troop" premiered on March 29th. It had a total audience of 735,550 and box office revenue of 863,640,000 yen for the past 23 days up to April 20th. Compared to "Masked Riders x Super Troop x Space Detective _ Super Hero Battle Z" which was released last year around the same time, it is up 102%, which shows its successful outcome. Its weekend ranking is 7th. And "Doraemon the Movie: New-Nobita and Daimajin: Peko and Five Adventurers" is in its 7th week now, and it had a total audience of 3,102,575 and box office revenue of 3,405,710,000 yen in the past 44 days up to April 20th. The revenue so far is 98.5% of the final box office revenue of the last film but one, "Doraemon: Nobita and the Miracle Island" which was 3,620,000,000yen. So again, this film, too, is doing well. So much for the report on films we have invested in.