Saturday, June 16, 2012

Understanding Japanese Wrestling on Television in Japan

Since I'm currently looking at getting japanese channels, I thought I would do a little bit of research to figure out how it works. Here's what I can grasp about how they work:

NOTE - I am using this guide:

Free channels - NJ is the only one who gets this aside from a few of the other promotions having spots in local areas on free tv. Most japanese people are perfectly content with having 8-12 channels and nothing more. However, NJ is on really late at night and that's kind of the equivalent of those failed Saturday Night Main Event shows that WWE puts on once a year these days.

For all of these, you have to have a satellite which is extra change up front.

J Sports - WWE has the best set up for this as they are on J Sports 1, 2, 3, with Raw, Smackdown, NXT and Vintage collection. NJ is on J Sports 3, which in order to get with the other J Sports channels you have to pay $28 for as opposed to the $25 with 1,2 and 4. I would think they gain less from this. However, you can get this with their 64 channel package which is a great deal and is what I would think most people would do. Think of J Sports like you would be paying for ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Classic and ESPN U.

Samurai TV - This is a $19 version of 24/7 that has some other fighting sports on it. 24/7 doesn't get that many viewers and I can't imagine any casual fans getting this channel. This channel does provide funding for shows though which is a big help. But, I think it may hurt overall buisness in some aspects. The promotion's tend to air their big shows on this channel anyway so why would fans want to spend the extra $40+ to see it live when they are going to get it on tv anyway? I only know one person who has this, and he's american.

GAORA - AJPW and DG do this along with a host of others on the Puroresu King series like Z1, Michinoku, AAA, Oz and K-Dojo. This is about $10 a month and probably the cheaper and overall better deal than Samurai as you would get other non wrestling viewers with this. Wrestling seems to be on about once a day or once every other day on this channel. This channel also features MMA and Kickboxing.

G+ - This airs NOAH and a little West Gate Pro Wrestling but mostly other things with the Tokyo Giants being the big thing. Racing is on here too. $10 a month.

V*Paradise - It costs around $8-$9 a month on exchange rates. This channel is the least sports related as WAVE is one of the few things sportswise on there. It has alot of drama's and movies. Have any recordings of the WAVE show shown up yet? I usually just see the DVD's but it seems there are more WAVE releases than ever.

Sky-A - I need to get a little more information on this channel but it carries both Osaka Pro and Okinawa Pro. It also used to show NJ Classics, but I do not believe it does anymore.

So basically, to get all of these, you are looking at around $80-$90+ a month once you count in exchange rates. These are all on sports related channels, so thats the audience it would appeal to. I think NJ has by far the best deal, but WWE has a pretty good deal too. NJ gets on free tv which is a major major help, plus Samurai, but WWE gets minimum 6 hours a week on the J Sports channels which is really good.

One final note that I want to make that I have made many times before is that japanese people usually only follow one promotion or a couple of wrestlers while ignoring the rest. Japanese fans also tend to follow either men's or women's wrestling, with not many crossing over. Sure, some hardcore fans follow everything, but they are going to shows and spending money there, not on tv, which is probably not the best overall deal since you can see everything for $70 a month. One other note that I'd like to make is that Japanese companies give ALOT of big matches and main events for free on television. I guess they have to give something with people having to pay extra to see their shows on TV, but I have to wonder if it hurts buisness. While I do like wrestling live, it would obviously be much smarter to wait a week and save the $40+ to see a show as I would see the big matches on the channel anyway. Remember that most of the footage we get is off of television, and I think you can see that we are usually getting the best stuff that these companies can put out for televised shows.

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