Digital and Media sector in Japan

Animation game advertisement in Japan

Digital media assets have developed in Japan since 2010.This has lead to a demand for innovative and high quality digital content from media/channels and relevant technology/apps.

Market overview

Japan is the world’s second largest media and entertainment market. It possesses a broad array of advanced technology and infrastructure and is home to high-quality producers of content (film, TV, anime, music, etc) and hardware.

TV Contents

According to a UK Television survey conducted by PACT/UKTI, the export figure to Japan was £8.6 million in 2011 with a 5 % increase from the previous year, while South Korea, India and China generated £4.7, £3.2 and £3.6 million respectively. Due to Japan’s nationwide switchover to digital TV in 2011, there was a dramatic proliferation of channels and distribution options with new digital platforms. The demand for high quality content and new ideas has never been greater.


Japan is now the world’s 2rd biggest market, following US, worth £2900 million in 2011, of which the market for international repertoire is about 13 %. Although like many others, the market has been shrunk by half over the last decade, Japan is still the world biggest market in terms of CD sales, underpinned by strong domestic music fans. The transition from physical to digital distribution is happening in slower speed compare to other countries. The live music market is expanding.


The total  consumer spending for this market was around £1,515 million,  of which the total sales of production companies was £1,090 million (TV/theatrical licensing, video, merchandising etc) in 2011.The total production length in 2011 was 95,098 minutes and sales of digital distribution were worth £115 million. The Japanese anime market is famously self-sufficient, and the production is wholly funded domestically via animation production committees.

Key opportunities


  • Finished programmes for BS/CS channels

  • Dramas (mystery), music, lifestyle, high quality documentaries, etc

  • Co-production for high end documentaries


  • Innovative technologies/apps for digital music distribution

  • Direct music distribution is possible,but not yet mainstream in Japan (requires promotion)


  • Major production companies are gradually exploring overseas markets by international co-production, where characters/stories are to be created from scratch, targeting the international market.

Latest export opportunities in the Digital & Media sector

Latest export opportunities in Japan

Getting into the market


  • For CS/BS channels, their acquisition departments will be your contacts

  • Fro terrestrial TV, it may be easier to approach via a local distributor/agent who already has strong contacts


  • At this point, finding suitable record companies is the most conventional way

  • If you are interested in promoting digital sales, without any license deal with local record labels, you should find your local aggregators who have international connections, and arrange distribution for Japanese territories


  • There are various routes, i.e. any parties in production committees could be your initial contacts for potential international co-production.

  • Attending international market and/or pitching session

More about doing business in Japan


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Etsuo Watanabe, British Embassy Tokyo; Tel: +81 (0) 35211 1151; Email: [email protected]

  • Hirokuni Miyamatsu, British Embassy Tokyo; Tel: +81 (0) 66120 5600; Email: [email protected]

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in Digital & Media Sector

Major Events


Date: 22-24 October 2013


Tokyo International Anime Fair 2014

Date: 19-20 March 2014


Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Creative & Media and Digital Services
Countries: Japan
Export Action Plan