Japan’s Candee acquires video production company to develop livestreaming platform

From the left: Takuro Arai (CCO, Candee), Toshiyuki Asada (CEO, Apollo Productions), Kzuki Furugishi (CEO, Candee), Shuhei Okawa (Executive Officer, Candee)

See the original story in Japanese.

Japan’s Candee, running an overall mobile video-related media business, announced last week that it has acquired a full stake in Apollo Productions behind livestreaming business and made Apollo Productions into a wholly-owned subsidiary. The deal value was undisclosed. Along with this, Takuro Arai (Executive Vice-president and CCO of Candee) and Shuhei Okawa (Executive Officer of Candee) were appointed as board members of Apollo Productions.

Toshiyuki Asada, the founder of Apollo Productions, was known for having established a portal website for students of the University of Tokyo when he was in university. He founded Apollo Productions in 2008 after engaging in video creation works for enterprise advertisement or movie promotion leveraging his experience of video distribution works such as a beauty pageant at the university. Subsequently, the firm started livestreaming business at Nico Nico Douga provided by Dwango (TSE:3715) in 2010.

Apollo Productions had lately been taking on livestreaming business based on major distribution platforms including AbemaTV (by CyberAgent), Nico Nico Live and Line Live with about 30 staffers. Owning Apollo Productions, Candee is going to double the number of staffers and plans to arrange the system with 80 staffers just for content creation within this year.

Arai explains the reason for this acquisition:

The movement of mobile content appears bipolar. One is the distribution of which a large quantity by individual amateurs and the other is the distribution by professionals. The latter will continue to expand since further increase in the number of clients is expected.

In the livestreaming business, the set of equipment, facilities and specialized experts is required. We had worked together with Apollo Productions as a creation partner in the past, but decided to become one in anticipation of future expansion.

The Candee team consists of professionals in the video industry including the founder members ambitiously aiming to create a new experience in the mobile era, and is expected to grow rapidly as fundraising 1 billion yen (about $8.8 million) last December.

So, do they pursue a rapid growth by further M&A activities?

Arai answered, “I cannot say.” This acquisition was not planned carefully in advance but reached agreement quickly and unexpectedly after the large-scale fundraising. There could be this kind of case again, since the firm professes an interest in related business including “girl management” or video experience production, other than content creation. In addition, they started an undisclosed test operation of the original platform of which we heard in the last interview.

Arai explains the vision of Candee:

We have no intention to create contents just being extreme or ones like downgraded TV shows. The project we are currently testing is to develop ‘video experience which cannot be accomplished by individuals’ focusing on the individual distribution field.

Sometime we may take on sudden projects, but mainly focus on projects based on community, such as the way how users are linked or the challenge to the limit of livestreaming.

Can these professional video creators cut into and step over the video platform business provided by top players such as Nico Nico, Line or Abema? The result of this acquisition will be checked in the official announcement of the new platform.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy