See how paid newsletters are thriving in Japan

ChokuMaga Kadokawa

Newsletters are amazingly popular here in Japan. People tend to be less hesitant to pay for content when it’s delivered directly to their inbox. Not just any content though, but typically something that is exclusively published, or written by professionals from a certain field or even celebrities. There are many services around the world that provide backend operations for sending out newsletters, but in Japan there are newsletter content platforms that work more like an information portal.

The biggest player in this sector is MaguMagu. The company was founded way back in 1997, and it currently has over 10 million subscribers 1. Many of the newsletters are provided for free, from individuals to small businesses. If you take a look at the newsletters that people pay for, most are business related.

One of the most successful business personalities on MaguMagu is Takafumi Horie, the famous founder of Livedoor. Back in November of 2010, the internet tycoon had almost 10,000 subscribers to a weekly newsletter that changed 840 yen monthly. The newsletter was called What I can’t write on my blog. It’s likely that the number of subscribers have jumped even higher after his release from the prison for alleged securities fraud.

A new comer to the premium newsltter platform is the Japanese publisher Kadokawa. Its platform is called Choku Maga (‘Choku’ means ‘directly’ in Japanese). The company is leveraging its relationships with authors and its professional editorial skills to bring their content into forms other than printed books.

Many famous personalities and professionals will join, such as the general director of Gundam, or popular illustrators or comedians. The content can be enjoyed as newsletters, on the web, or even in ePub format.

  1. This is according to the company’s website.