Are we about to witness a digital content shake up in Japan?

digital content

Internet, comms and tech collaboration  

What happens when a leading global Internet services company Rakuten and one of the top worldwide digital publishing technology vendors Aquafadas get together? Could this be a start of a bit of a shake up of a media, digital and mobile scene in Japan?

Shifting habits in Japan

The attitudes and habits of Japanese consumers have been significantly changing in the last few years. The cherry blossom country is witnessing an enormous adoption of digital and mobile media. It’s a very interesting market developing very differently than other parts of the world. It is still a bit of a paradise for the paper newspapers and magazines but slowly but steadily print readership amongst especially younger generations is starting to decline. With so many Millennials glued to mobile screens, the market is maturing and entering online transformation. Digital content publishers are jumping on this fantastic opportunity being really well aware that consumers are hungry for interactive entertainment and, most importantly, still ready to pay for it.

Powerful aggregator of digital content

Rakuten working with Aquafadas have just completed a very fruitful project and are launching a new digital magazine app. EMEA and American readers might be used to this kind of platforms but they’re less present in this part of the globe. What an opportunity that cannot be given a miss! Rakuten and their partners are not hiding their ambition to continue accelerating growth in digital content. And with this new exciting venture they’re hoping to win millions of customers in the upcoming years. So how are they planning to achieve it?

Rakuten magazine app

Imagine 200 magazines, 11 genres, available via an easy-to-use mobile app, all accessible thanks to a very appealing “all you can eat” subscription plan? Combine it with 100 million existing active customers (Rakuten clients base). Yes, we think the same. The opportunities are endless and fireworks about to start!

The app promises is to “find and spread your desire for reading, make your life more delight”. It will be available for readers in Japan on two platforms: iOS and Android. Upon downloading it, the users will be offered a chance to personalise their home screen by choosing interest categories (genres) to facilitate access to most relevant digital content. They will also be able to enjoy:

  • recommended articles selected based on the latest trends
  • magazine ranking to help navigating and discovering what’s trending
  • comfortable reading experience
  • bookmark function to save interesting articles and accordingly find them from My Page at any time
  • associating up to 5 devices

An easy subscription model will give them to an access to endless entertainment for an astonishing monthly price of 380JPY (excluding taxe) or 3600 JPY for one year (excluding taxe). And to top it off, they can benefit from the Rakuten Points system.

Aquafadas solutions in Japan
It’s not the first time Aquafadas is supporting an exciting transformation in Japan. A few years back, we’ve played an important role
in digitization of Japanese children’s’ books. We partnered with the Japanese publishing giant Gakken and helped them produce an exciting, interactive digital application aimed at educating and entertaining kids. We also work on ongoing basis with Shueisha – another well known publisher – converting some of their magazines into interactive cross platform content. To date our mobile solutions formed a base of 11 digital titles to mention only a few: Seventeen, MEN’S NON-NO, More, Marisol, Spur etc.

Aquafadas solutions in Japan

And in the last few months, we’ve embarked on another exciting journey with our Internet and content partners in Japan. We’re proud to say that our toolset formed a base of this exciting mobile project. We have provided the cloud based app infrastructure for the The Rakuten Magazine and solutions enabled converting multiple paper magazines into an interactive content catalogue. By deploying the app backend, we’ve ensured optimal availability and performance for the Japanese readers. We’ve once again proved that our solutions can stretch a lot and provide the stable and secure backend as well as a highly flexible front end – user interface – adapted to specific project needs.

“It’s the first time when our Aquafadas software enabled to transform and contain so much content in one single app. We’re talking about 200 magazines and this is a wonderful number of titles and also for us – tech experts – this is a powerful amount of data needed to be processed.

We’re expecting an impressive adoption rate aiming at millions of readers in the next few years. And whilst we’re waiting impatiently for users reactions and feedback, we’re already working on next features. We have lots of great enhancements in the pipeline that will no doubt bring digital magazines experience in Japan to the next level. We’re envisaging adding new types of services never even thought about. Watch this space – the magazine reading experience soon will never be the same! Matthieu Kopp, CTO, Aquafadas

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