Japan’s Pulit gets million US dollars to help publishers stream content on own channels


See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Pulit, the Japanese startup developing distribution technologies for digital image and video content, announced on Wednesday that it has closed a pre-series A round. The investors participating and the scale of funding were not revealed, but some sources say that the investors are the corporate venture capital of a leading ad agency and an IT business company both of which can see potential synergy with Pulit’s business. This follows Pulit’s previous funding 50 million yen in a seed round back in August of 2016.

In the Super Distribution Scheme (SDS) developed by Pulit, as content holders or creators upload videos to be distributed onto cloud, Robust Image Watermark is embedded on the cover image and direct access link (URL) is issued for each video. Clicking the direct access link, OS-native players are activated and then users are allowed to watch the videos on PC or smart devices. Also, DRM (digital rights management) control is available, so that users can save the videos on local environment or watch them again according to conditions set by content holders or creators.

After the launch of their business announcement last year, Pulit carried out PoCs (Proof of Concept) with 6 major Japanese private TV broadcasters  (3 in Tokyo and 3 in Osaka), 4 major publishing companies, 3 animation studios from March to April this year (Low-Fidelity PoC).  From May-June this year PoC was carried out by participating new media companies and social network services in addition to 10 TV broadcasters, 6 big publishing companies, and 3 animation studios (Middle-Fidelity PoC). From here, they plan to hold closed beta tests from July to August (which will also serve as High-Fidelity PoC), followed by open beta tests from September to October, with the goal of launching this service alongside Android/iOS viewer apps within the year.

Until now, when content holders and producers distribute content, they had to rely on a distribution platform run by third-party operators. Because of this, it was difficult for content holders to distribute their top tier content since it was impossible to implement marketing measures freely, and there was a minimum guarantee (a minimum fee for delivery consignment paid by the content holder to the platform operator regardless of the user’s viewing number), making it difficult to handle niche content.

According to Pulit CEO K.W. Lee, by introducing Pulit, content holders can directly distribute their own content without using any other content distribution platform, so it is easier to distribute top tier content, as well as niche content, and they hope that a long tail market will be born from this as well. He remarked that he plans to extend the service categories beyond to microcontent, picture books, photographs of comics, novels and magazines in the future through partnerships with broadcasters and publishers all over Japan,

If we investigate video content IP holders in Japan, we come across three companies in total, with Pulit pulling through as the dominant company if all the three were left to duke it out. Although the details remain unknown, it is thought that the funding sources are closely related to this strategy.

In response to this funding, Pulit says it will strengthen the organization from the current 4 to 6 people (to 10 people including the external development collaborators).

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda