Press Conference by President Shinichi Yoshida(Outline)
|September 30, 2014|
Shinichi Yoshida, President
*Three months have passed since you assumed the post of the president of TV Asahi. Could you give us some comment?
A little over three months have passed, but I still donft feel my feet on the ground. I just started to make visits to each workplace within the company to see how their "ecology" works and to have discussions with people as often as time allows. I am still in a phase of continuing courtesy visits to relevant people and companies, but one of the impressions I got after three months coming from the newspaper industry is the power of integration that television has as a media. Integrating and using resources from within the company is no surprise, but it impresses me to see how skillfully outside resources are integrated with inside resources to create our programs and news. I have already talked about this in the company, but I canft help being impressed by the scope of how far the skill and technology of integrating the resources from inside and outside of the company have developed in the course of the 50 to 60 years history of television. And another additional factor that impressed me is the speed of integration. Of course, as newspapers are also dealing with news coverage, speed is essential to meet deadlines and provide speedy news delivery. So, printed news requires speed as well, but in the case of television, it is a matter of how fast it can react to what is happening right at the moment, and how fast you can get a specialist on the matter on screen, and I find that it is all working extremely well, although I wouldnft say itfs completely perfect. I feel this strongest with the news division. As it happened, there was a volcanic disaster on Mt. Ontake last Saturday, and I realized anew that television is a media that give viewers minute by minute ongoing information on what is happening and how it can be interpreted, and it is not a media that summarizes news but it is a kind of competition against other stations on how well you can inform and analyze the ongoing phenomenon. The strong impressions I got are its integrating power and speed. When I was working for the newspaper, I was working in a long tradition of a mechanism of how to utilize its own resources, so in that sense, I felt strongly that television is a media with a different ecology.
If I may add one more thing, I feel the significant speed of technological developments surging onto us. 4K and 8K, or issues like "catch-up TV" to be discussed among five commercial TV stations are the matters that come up one right after another. There is no end to upcoming issues regarding the broadcasting system and broadcasting industry as I try to study about them, but I think what lies behind those issues is a matter of technology. I understand that such technological developments have come quite far in the US and Europe, but in Japan we are at the stage where we need to decide what to do as the old system or model are changing into new models, although I am not sure yet as to what kind of turn Japan will make at her threshold.
The fact is now we are simultaneously competing in the realm of the current system and model and in the realm of the future model, and such double competition is evident in all traditional media in one way or another. But television is very much in the midst of the two competitions, and since it has become a frequent topic of our conversation since this summer vacation, now I have to study not only about the current situation but also about the future development, and now I feel like Ifve been told to put a shot while I was training for a marathon. So, I would say, rather than a rosy future, I feel a tough road ahead.
Updates on Audience Ratings:
Our current annual audience ratings from the beginning of the year are: 7.2% for all-day, 10.6% for golden-time, 11.2% for prime-time, 7.4% for prime-2, which places us second for all-day and prime-time, second for golden-time among the commercial broadcasters, and top for prime-2. The first half of this fiscal year closed the day before yesterday, and the audience ratings for the first half are: 7.0% for all-day, 10.1% for golden-time, 10.7% for prime-time and 7.2% for prime-2. We are placed second for all-day and prime, and second for golden-time among the commercial broadcasters. For all-day, we have been placed second or better for 5 consecutive quarters and for the 9th time since the launch of the station. For prime-time, we are placed second or better for 5 consecutive quarters and for the 10th time since the launch of the station. For prime-2, we are at the top for 19 consecutive quarters since the first half of 2005. The July-September quarter dramas in general were rather slow, but our prime time drama, "New Tokyo Metropolitan Police First Investigation Unit 9" had an average rating of 11.4% for its 10 total episodes, placing it third among all 16 drama series aired by the commercial broadcasters, and "Truth of Zero `Medical Examiner Mao Matsumoto`" had an average rating of 10.5% and tied fifth place among the drama series aired during this quarter. So I think it was a rather difficult quarter for all dramas.
As for main upcoming lineups, "Drama Special - New Tokyo Metropolitan Police First Investigation Unit 9" will be aired this Sunday for the first time on Sundayfs entertainment slot . Also, "Drama Special - CSI: Crime Scene Talks" will be aired on the same Sundayfs entertainment slot on October 19th. And the long awaited new series of "Doctor-X" will start on October 9th. "AIBOU: Tokyo Detective Duo-Season 13" will start on October 15th. We have a good supply of promising dramas for the second half of the fiscal year.
The year-on-year results for the month of August are 102.5% for time-sales, 112.2% for spot-sales, making the total sales of 107.2%. The sales surpassed last yearfs figures in all fields. As for time-sales, we were able to achieve much of our sales with "Special Program: Summer Festival All Day Long", which was programmed as a special show to celebrate the launch of "TV Asahi & Roppongi Hills: Summer Festival - Summer Station", and "Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships". Advertisers from "information and communication" branches and "hobby/sports equipment" branches mainly connected to smartphone applications have placed commercials aggressively and made the spot market environment very lively. Against this background, our spot-sales for August was the highest ever for the month of August. As for the share among 5 stations, we achieved second place for the second time since last February. The year-on-year sales for the month of September are more than 96% for time-sales, more than 103% for spot-sales, making the total of more than 100% so far. As for time-sales, we do not expect to reach last yearfs level because we do not have programs such as "IBAF 18U World Baseball Classic Final" and "TV Asahifs 55th Anniversary Special: Good Luck on a No Manfs Island Special" aired last year in September. On the other hand, spot-sales did better than last year due to our steady and efficient sales efforts together with an active market fueled by aggressive ads placements including those from Apple who just released new iPhone and iPad. The final figure for the month of September is expected to exceed those of last year. The year-on-year sales for the month of October as of now are: more than 87% for time-sales, and more than 96% for spot-sales, making the total figure of more than 92%. We are expecting a good market situation for spot-sales to continue onto October. I am now asking my colleagues working on our spot-sales to keep up their efforts in making effective sales activities to reach the goal of 100% year-on-year figure as their first step of achievement for the month.
Revenues from Non-broadcasting Business:
First, I will report on our merchandizing business. We will work on merchandises in collaborations with "Doctor-X " featured in the Thursday Drama slot using key phrases from the drama. Both a steamed sweet bun called "Gyoi" (As you wish) and a rice cracker called "I never fail" that we produced last year have both been a big success. This year, we will continue to sell "Gyoi" buns together with additional new merchandises that we introduced on September 26th: a ballpoint pen and a sticky-note featuring "I never fail" and a ballpoint pen with a stamp engraved "Gyoi" (As you wish). The samples of buns, sticky notes, ballpoint pens have been handed out to you all. And more are coming as a renewed "I never fail" rice crackers with a new packaging and "Kaki-Pea X" (hot rice crackers with peanuts) are scheduled to be on market on the 9th of October. Additional new merchandises including "mugs" and "tea cups" will make their debuts very soon. Make sure you tune in to the drama as well as its merchandises.
Next, I will continue with event businesses. We started to sell tickets for our original large-scale event "TV Asahi Dream Festival 2014 " on September 14th, and all 30,000 tickets were sold out on the same day. This will be the fourth year of this already established event among music fans in Japan. And again an all-star lineup of great artists such as Spitz, Yuzu, Momoiro Clover Z, Yuzo Kayama and his band "The King All Stars" will get together on the stage. The concert will be held from October 11th to 13th at Yoyogi National Stadium Gymnasiums 1.
Our very successful and unique gourmet project "Dipping Noodle Shops Mega Mall " launched in 2009 has become an annual event and it will be held from this week on October 2nd. The venue is Okubo Park in Kabuki-cho where our other gourmet project "Gekikara Festival" (Burning Hot but Delicious Gourmet Festival) closed on September 24th in big success. The last two "Dipping Noodle Shops Mega Mall " were held as a competition to decide the number one dipping noodle shop in Japan, but this year, it will be a "Grand Prix Competition among Local Dipping Noodle Restaurants ". The contestants are selected by an Internet questionnaire asking for your favorite local dipping noodle restaurant. The selected 24 restaurants get together at Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku city. The gourmet festival lets you taste dipping noodles across the nation as if youfve traveled around Japan at one single spot in Kabuki-cho.
Next report is on our publishing business. The fourth edition of the cooking book created from the Wednesday cooking section of "Morning Bird" will be published as "Professional Skill in Our Kitchen: Secret Home Recipes vol.4 " on November 26th. The first three editions all together have sold more than 372,000 copies so far. The chefs offering their recipes for this fourth edition are the same members: Naoyuki Yanagihara of Kinsa-ryu Japanese culinary discipline, Hiroyuki Kataoka of Al Porto for Western cuisine, Kentaro Chin of Shisen Hanten for Chinese cuisine, a gourmet researcher Kentetsu Koh for Korean family cooking and Japanese cuisine, and Yoshimi Nile of Nile Restaurant for Indian cuisine. The book features selected recipes from all the recipes introduced on air from April to August 2014. The book will have an additional original contents featuring "Stocked Vegetables", "Osechi" (New Yearfs special boxed meal), and "Mochi" (rice-cake).
I will report on our film business. "Stand By Me Doraemon" that we have invested premiered on August the 8th, and had a total audience of 5, 696,753 as of yesterday for the first 53 days since its release. Its total revenue so far is 7,562,840,000 yen. This is the highest revenue of all Doraemon series up to now. In fact, the highest revenue recorded so far is 3,980,000,000 yen recorded by "Nobitafs Secret Gadget Museum" released in 2013. The most number of audiences recorded so far is 4.2million people recorded for "Nobita and the Birth of Japan" released in 1989, but the total number for "Stand By Me Doraemon" has already exceeded the record by far. In fact, the movie has broken the record for the best revenue achieved by a film that we have invested in. So far, the Japanese film that achieved the most revenue so far is "Yamato" released in 2005.
On Hodo Station:
The general review article on the issue was published in Asahi Shimbun on August the 5th. As far as I have been informed, Hodo Station considered that its role is to portray the overall picture and meanings of what Yoshida testimony was all about, and so they worked hard on newsgathering including those from abroad to review the meanings and process of the Yoshida testimony. They tried to work broadly and carefully in their newsgathering. For example, they tried to use all their network to realize a meeting with Ms. Coomaraswamy who had written the United Nationsf report, and as a result it was at that timing that Hodo Station was able to report on its overall picture. That is what I have been informed.
¦One more questions regarding Hodo Station: What was the process taken to correct the report on Sendai Nuclear Power Station made on September 10th?
I myself as well as our company are taking this issue as a serious problem. On September 10th, Hodo Station did a feature on Sendai Nuclear Power Station clearing the new safety standard, and in that feature it introduced "Guidelines for Evaluation of Effects of Volcanoes" during the question and answer sequence, but they made a mistake and introduced "Guidelines for Evaluation of Effects of Tornadoes" instead. That means while they were reporting on stories related to volcanoes, they had inserted a story about tornadoes by mistake. There was a completely erroneous understanding of facts. And when they were showing the discussion on the evaluation standards on volcanoes, the content of the report turned out to be out of context because they had edited out questions raised from some reporters and the response from the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). We received a strong protest from the chairman on these two points, and we investigated the matter to find out that they were indeed erroneous understanding of the facts and that it was an inappropriate report. It is something that should never have happened and it is a totally disgraceful situation, and so naturally, we have expressed our total apology and taken back the report, and at the same time as taking back the report, we released a corrected version immediately together with our report on how and when Hodo Station made its mistakes and what kind of discussions were made in reality. We have also reported the same to NRA and gotten their consent. But whatever the causes may be, I would like to express my deepest apologies to the chairman, everyone involved in the NRA, and our viewers for having made such an inexcusable and disgraceful mistake.