Netflix is betting big on reality TV as it looks to expand its reach in Japan, a key international growth market amid stagnant subscriber gains for streaming services across much of the West. The company unveiled a slate of five reality series on Wednesday at its offices in Seoul, South Korea, during an event that showcased unscripted content across Asia. The list reveals that Netflix skews heavily towards variety and dating show formats in Japan, two of the most popular TV categories in the country.
Programming includes wacky dating shows. Is she the wolf? and Love like a K-Dramaand an intimate spin on Japan’s well-worn variety and comedy category, Lighthouse, with musician and actor Gen Hoshino and comedian Masayasu Wakabayashi. Two renewals round out the list: Season 2 orders for comedy competition show last standing and the middle aged dating show town of love.
“We are excited to move into a new phase of our content strategy, increasing our investments in unscripted content and bringing new concepts to the screen,” said Dai Ota, content manager for Netflix Japan. “We want to elevate the unscripted category with great production values and storytelling from Japan’s most innovative creative voices.”
Ota emphasized the importance of unscripted content to Netflix’s ambitions in Japan, noting that 70 percent of primetime linear programming in the country is made up of reality, variety and date shows. He said that Netflix has a total of 15 such titles currently in development in Japan.
Amid ongoing strikes by the actors’ and writers’ guilds in Hollywood, Netflix’s expansion into increasingly diverse content categories in international markets underscores the head start and diversification advantage the company continues to hold over its industry rivals. Legacy studio, which is expected to be hit hardest by the movie hiatus. and series creation outside of California.
As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan boasts some of the highest average revenue per user in Asia, while offering plenty of room for local and international subscription video services to grow subscribers, with cable cutting Arriving relatively late in the country. According to regional consultancy Media Partners Asia, Netflix had 7.2 million subscribers in Japan in the first quarter of 2023, representing around 15 percent share of the premium SVOD market.
Lighthouse, scheduled for August 22, will be the first title on the new slate to be released on Netflix. The show follows Hoshino and Wakabayashi as they embark on a six-month conversation in which they open up and share their personal stories, struggles, and fears with each other and with viewers. Hoshino, a successful singer-songwriter in Japan, also created the opening song “Mad Hope,” featuring Louis Cole and Sam Gendel, as well as five ending songs inspired by his conversation with Wakabayashi in the episodes. The show promises an intimate look at two of Japan’s greatest artists and a fresh take on creativity and comedy.
Is she the wolf? it follows with a release date of September 3. The dating show features a typical group of attractive young contestants who are looking for love. Hidden among them, however, is at least one “wolf,” a fake dater whose mission is to fool the other contests with fake romance while keeping his secret status hidden. The show was produced in association with the Japanese online streaming platform ABEMA, where it has already been released for the local audience and has attracted a large following.
Love like a K-Drama It taps into a phenomenon that Netflix helped create: the growing global appeal of Japanese romance series. A hybrid show that combines K-drama and the reality competition format, the series follows four Japanese actresses and four Korean actors who pair up to try to land leading roles in K-drama shows by auditioning for romantic kissing scenes, with the lines between acting and true romance only blur during their steamy rehearsals. The action is accompanied by lively commentary from a cast of famous studio hosts, including Haruna Kondo (Harisenbon), Aa-CHAN (Perfume), Shusuke Fukutoku (Jarujaru), Hayato Komori (GENERATIONS), and Maria Tani.. Love like a K-Drama It will premiere on November 28.
The second season of last standing premieres on October 10, while the next series of episodes of Love Village A release date is still awaited.