Mixi’s photobook service gets the TV bump, is now Japan’s top app



I’ve been pretty fascinated with Mixi’s efforts this year, in particular with those of its internal innovation team. This is the team that developed the Nohana photobook creation app, which initially launched back in February. Interestingly it has just become the number one free iOS app in Japan.

I was curious this morning to know exactly why Nohana saw this sudden surge. Some quick Twitter research shows that the application received a big boost last night when it was featured on popular television show ‘A deep, life-changing story in one minute‘. Although it has been said before, this really underscores the value that television represents to any app or game in Japan [1].

Coincidentally, I had a Nohana photobook order delivered to me just yesterday, and the package included a handy little growth chart about the services first few months which you can see below. So far over 40,000 photobooks have been ordered, with 9860 printed in June.

I’m still unsure as to whether Nohana can turn a profit with its “your first book is free, the second one is paid” model. But given Japan’s aging demographic, I’m sure that there are lots of customers who send second and third copies directly to grandparents when they place an order [2].

Nohana also launched on Android earlier this month, so ostensibly that’s a sign that things are still going well enough to continue its efforts.

If you live in Japan and you still haven’t tried Nohana, do give it a try.

Photobooks sold, February to June

  1. For example, it played a huge part in the early success of Line, as well as popular games like Rage of Bahamut and Puzzle & Dragons. Serkan Toto explored this a little further in a post last year, specific to the social gaming industry.  ↩

  2. The app lets you save multiple addresses, making the process of sending a book to other family members very easy.  ↩