TV, entertainment industry facing major crunch


The March 11 Tohoku disaster has had a pronounced effect on recreation and leisure throughout Japan. Web newspaper J-Cast News had earlier run stories on the closure of Tokyo Disney Resort and other theme parks in East Japan.

It followed up that story with March 28 report that the impact is being felt as far away as Kyushu, where bookings by foreign visitors to Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo City and the Phoenix Resort in Miyazaki Prefecture have been sharply down.

A hotel operator at the famous Yufuin spa in Oita Prefecture was quoted as saying that 90% of its visitors from overseas, mostly from South Korea, had cancelled reservations, mainly out of fears over the nuclear plant accident at Fukushima.

Another area beginning to feel the disaster's impact is the domestic entertainment industry, both live performances and television.

Looking at online ticket sales sites, J-Cast News (April 3) noted widespread announcements of cancellations of the performances and information about how to apply for refunds on tickets. Releases of new CDs and DVDs, moreover, have been successively postponed until the period of "jishuku" (self-restraint) has been lifted.

Not surprisingly, the current somber mood of the nation has resulted in a sharp fall in demand for appearances by TV's top comedians.

"Cancellations have been coming in one by one, and work is down by at least 30%," says a source in the entertainment industry. "While there's still work to be found in western Japan, if the problems related to the disaster and nuclear accident become prolonged, there will be no avoiding an even worse situation."

Popular vocalists and other entertainers also regularly tour Tohoku to give live performances at hot springs resorts and other leisure facilities. Virtually all of the scheduled events have been cancelled.

"Due to the mood of self-restraint, Japan's entertainment world has probably been hit the hardest," remarks Masaaki Hiruma, an authority on the entertainment industry, who describes the current situation as the worst for the business since the immediate postwar period.

In the aftermath of the quake, commercials were dropped from TV in favor of public service messages, which the networks air for free. The suspension of commercial broadcasts by Japan's broadcasters is said to have cost each network an estimated 100 million yen per day.

Commercial advertisements on television are at last making a comeback, but in the second half of March alone, by Hiruma's estimate, the total shortfall of advertising revenues by all TV stations nationwide came to 10 billion yen through the end of March. Major sponsors normally conclude annual contracts with the networks, in which the amount is fixed, but it remains to be seen if the companies will be willing to pay the full amount despite their commercials not being aired.

With revenues down, it's likely that the networks will have no choice but to make drastic cuts to their program budgets, and top entertainers may face not only lowered fees, but being dropped from programs entirely.

"Budgets are already way down due to the recession," says Hiruma. "Cuts of an additional 20% are expected."

© Japan Today

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How can i survive without watching game shows or people eating food on TV!??!?!?

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All that outlay for a new digital TV, and now nothing to watch on it!

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Less TV, another positive from the tragedy.

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But it is no joke that the economy, in general, will suffer from people's self-restraint. The overall question is whether people will realise that it is everyone's responsibility to dedicate themselves to recovery after such disasters. That includes spreading the wealth and supporting those who work and produce the goods and services. It is not disrespect to survive and flourish, just as the cherry blossoms themselves do every year.

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“Due to the mood of self-restraint, Japan’s entertainment world has probably been hit the hardest,”

business owners and managers may find more solutions now to keep their positive books.

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The only way to get this country back on track is to resume business as normal. I am off to onsen next week!

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I hope they still have enough money in the budget to but plastic squeaky hammers to hit each other in the head with. I do not think I can go long without seeing that on TV.

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The most astonishing thing about this article has been commented on. The networks make 700 million yen per week from ads. Think about that, and wonder where all of the money goes as it certainly doesn't go onto funding quality programming.

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Richard -- no mystery. It goes to the talent agencies/production houses and the ad agencies like Dentsu and Hakuhodo who get filthy rich by operating like OPEC to control the whole thing. And, since quality alternatives to network TV do not exist here, like cable, advertisers are forced to go along. Pretty sad that all ready horrible programing is going to get even worse.

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And, since quality alternatives to network TV do not exist here, like cable, advertisers are forced to go along.

There is no cable TV in Japan? I suppose there is no sushi either? Geez man say something at least HALF true will ya

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well, at least we can still play pachinko for our entertainment :)

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So... I can finally barter?

Resort Onsen: Yes, sir... it is 25,000 yen per person per night.

Me: I'll give you 15,000 for both of us.

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... 90% of its visitors from overseas, mostly from South Korea, had cancelled reservations, mainly out of fears over the nuclear plant accident at Fukushima.

Ignorant fools! The decision would make more sense (but not much more) if it were based on new understanding about the extra radiation they would receive during the flights.

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