The Kadokawa Group, which aims to become a "Mega Software Publisher," is moving beyond its existing publishing business to achieve sustainable growth in film and software (which includes websites and mobile sites), and by developing business overseas with an emphasis on Asia.
Kadokawa Shoten is a well established Japanese publisher of books, Mangas and Manga magazines
Kadokawa Shoten was established on November 10, 1945 by Genyoshi Kadokawa. The company's first publication imprint, Kadokawa Bunko, was published in 1949. The company went public on April 2, 1954. In 2003, Kadokawa Shoten was renamed Kadokawa Holdings, transferring the existing publishing businesses to Kadokawa Shoten. On July 1, 2006, the parent company was renamed to Kadokawa Group Holdings, and inherited the management and integration businesses within Kadokawa Shoten. In January 2007, Kadokawa Group Holdings inherited the management and integration businesses within Kadokawa Shoten. The magazine businesses was transferred to the Kadokawa Magazine Group. The video game divisions of Kadokawa Shoten, ASCII Media Works and Enterbrain were merged into Kadokawa Games. Since the founding of Kadokawa Haruki in 1976, Kadokawa was also active in movie production.
Kadokawa Group Holdings include currently 43 affiliated companies, with main activities in publishing, movies and cross media publications.
Key Company Developments in 2012
Kadokawa’s 2012 annual report, which included revenue from book publishing, digital publishing, and overseas (notably in Taiwan) showed a rise to 86.10 billion JPY in 2012, up from 75.83 billion JPY in 2011 on a like-for-like basis. Digital sales alone have increased by 43% year on year.
In a difficult overall environment, and a rough outlook for Japan, Kadokawa reported a return to profitability in 2011.
Revenues from the book business rose for the ninth consecutive year in 2011 on brisk sales of anime- based “light novels” (“bunku”), representing 42,2 % of overall sales.
Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization:
Kadokawa defined its strategic vision to become a “Mega Software Publisher” and “Mega Applications Provider”, and to become a “platform provider” in the digital era. As a consequence, Kadokawa has started to reposition its entire company and strategy by aiming at “the digital natives who have mastered a number of information terminals, such as smartphones and the iPad”, as they are “becoming the driving force behind modern society” (Vision of the Chairman, 2012).
An internal merger brought together Kadokawa Shoten Co., Ltd. and Kadokawa Pictures Inc. in view of an “the integration of our Publishing and Movie/Visual businesses…to…make our media-mix activities consistent.“
Overall, Kadokawa has implemented five key restructuring measures to “meet the requirements of the new digital media era, including e-books, and to pursue further growth as a Mega Software Publisher.”
Recently, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been at the center of Kadokawa’s international efforts.
In 2010 Kadokawa established Guangzhou Tianwen Kadokawa Animation & Comics Co., Ltd. (non-consolidated), a joint venture established in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, through a capital alliance with the Hunan Publishing Investment Holding Group, a Chinese state owned publishing conglomerate.
Kadokawa launched the e-Book distribution platform Book Walker, which was developed in-house with formal approval from Apple. Kadokaw plans to use Book Walker as the foundation for a major entertainment platform, having acquired Dwango Co. Ltd. and formed the business alliance GREE, Inc. Book Walker is also Kadokawa's response to Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Kobo’s e-readers. By July 2012, 7,000 titles have been made available for the Book Walker platform.
The Media Factory division has been at the core of efforts to expand Kadokawa’s value chain for “light novels” and “comic essay for women” as well as children’s books. The division has also driven growth with the creation of original games since 2009.
In April 2011, Kadokawa also entered the Android market, overseen by Kadokawa Contents Gate Co. A new service, Fan+, has been launched in cooperation with the Japanese TV company NTT.
Bestselling Authors & Titles:
Sales were strong for the paperback title Yoake no Machi de (a movie by the same name was released in 2011) and also the paperback titles Mioka and Tsukumogami Kashimasu (television dramas based on these two novels have been created). Business-related book sales were solid as well, with several new titles becoming social topics, including Shiranaito Hajiwokaku Sekaino Daimondai 2, the follow-up edition to the bestseller released in the previous fiscal year, and The True Nature of Deflation, presenting a new angle on the nature of the Japanese economy. The 2010 Honya Taisho (The Booksellers Prize) award winner Tenchi Meisatsu and the 2010 Manga Taisho award winner Thermae Romae series were also popular, and sales rose sharply for both titles.
In the publishing division, a main focus has been put on children (with the Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko imprint launched in 2009), women, and the elderly. Kadokawa has also collaborated with Chukei Publishing to develop and market popular characters.
Key Points for Analysis & Conclusions:
Kadokawa, by defining its strategy of becoming a Mega Software or Applications Company, and by starting a number of cooperations and internal developments, aims at combining all digital media formats and distribution channels among its content businesses.