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I barely slept last night watching the absolutely horrible videos of the destruction following the earthquakes in Japan. The earthquake was the most powerful to hit Japan in over 100 years. And now CNN is reporting that there is another earthquake that just hit Nagano, Japan.
The organizers of the SXSW conference here in Austin have setup a special donation site located at SXSW4Japan. It appears that the funds will go to the American Red Cross. CauseVox is powering the site and notes that they will waive all transaction fees so 100% of the donations will be sent to the American Red Cross.
You can either make a donation or setup a custom donation page that you can share. So far $265 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal. The fundraising campaign will run 4 days through the balance of SXSW Interactive.
Last year online office provider Zoho partnered with Baihui and entered the Chinese market and they also partnered with Swisscom in Europe. Last week Zoho announced a new distribution deal with NTT in Japan. The Zoho distribution is part of a bigger effort by NTT to create a cloud environment. The cloud platform is named “Setten”, the Japanese word for “contact point” or “interface.”
NTT notes regarding the new Setten offering, “The platform will provide operating systems, storage and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, including AdventNet K.K.’s Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, Zoho Mail and NTT Resonant’s Business goo.”
Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna explains how the cloud portion will work for Zoho’s apps, “Interesting part to notice in this case is that the Zoho Applications are not served from Zoho’s data centers in US. Instead, Zoho applications are deployed in NTT Com’s data centers. Zoho provides frequent updates to these applications.”
The Setten release will start small with 15 Japanese companies and will expand over time.
Earlier this year popular Valley entrepreneur Joi Ito became CEO of the Creative Commons organization. Today Internet services firm Tucows has announced that Ito has joined their board of directors.
"We are honoured to have one of the most influential leaders in the global Internet community join our Board," said Elliot Noss, President and CEO of Tucows. "Mr. Ito brings to Tucows a unique understanding of the Internet’s impact on business and society. We look forward to his strategic guidance and counsel."
Ito also serves on the board of Technorati and Digital Garage. In addition, Ito is Chairman of Six Apart Japan.
In other Tucows news, last month they launched the Butterscotch Video Network.
Analytics provider comScore is out with a new report today regarding the Japanese Web social networking market. Facebook has the largest percentage growth (213%) over the period June 2007-June 2008. Mixi.jp leads the Japanese social networking category with over 12 million monthly uniques while Facebook has grown to just over 500k visitors a month. It’s important to note that this comScore report does not include mobile social networking usage. This would be a very interesting bit of analysis since mobile usage is so high in Japan.
MySpace is second with 10% of the traffic Mixi.jp has but doubles Facebook in unique visitors. While we here in the states seem to believe Orkut is dead, it’s beating Facebook in unique visitors by 20% for June 2008. comScore also notes that Orkut users have the heaviest engagement noting, "…in this study across several measures, including average usage days per visitor (11.5), average minutes per visitor (454), and average pages per visitor (1,557). Mixi.jp also generates fairly heavy engagement, while Facebook.com and MySpace.com show more modest engagement thus far."
Martyn Williams has an interesting look at the Japanese mobile content market. He notes that for the calendar year 2007, more than $100 billion was spent on mobile content. The total was actually $107.5 billion and includes items such as ring tones, Web site subscriptions and e-commerce purchases. E-commerce made up about 65% of the total amount spent and all sorts of transactions were handled including: movie and event ticket sales, travel reservations, air and rail ticket sales, stock trading and online auctions.
The biggest percentage gain came from "high-fidelity music" which increased 42% thanks to more mobile devices handling better quality sound. Mobile gaming jumped 13% as well.
Maybe the iPhone app store will push other countries to follow suit. While not mentioned in the article, I wonder what percentage of transactions took place via a QR code.
Online video host Brightcove is announcing the launch of a new subsidiary today in Japan. Named Brightcove KK, Brightcove will be the majority-owned shareholder in the company along with several other major Japanese media and technology companies. The partners include: Dentsu, Inc., J-Stream, Inc., transcosmos, Inc. and Cyber Communications, Inc. (CCI). These companies along with Brightcove have put $4.9 million in funding into the new Brightcove KK subsidiary.
With Brightcove KK, Japanese media companies and marketers will gain access to the most powerful and scalable software as a service (SaaS) solution available for online video players, distribution, and advertising. Dentsu, Inc. is the largest advertising company in Japan, J-Stream, Inc. is Japan’s largest content delivery network (CDN) and CCI is Japan’s largest interactive adverting company.
Check out our coverage of Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire speaking at MIT.
After all of the hoopla about Crunchyroll’s financing and their copyright issues back in March, the company seems to have rebounded and are making great strides with partnerships. The Crunchyroll story seems very similar to the YouTube story in the early days.
Last month Crunchyroll announced partnerships with a variety of content providers in the U.S. and Japan. Today Crunchyroll is announcing a new partnership with the THINK company based in Japan. The partnership will create a new channel on Crunchyroll for the "Anime Innovation Tokyo ", backed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The launch will include several videos and digital channel dedicated to Anime Innovation Tokyo’s content.
Crunchyroll self reports over four million unique visitors a month with a worldwide audience. Crunchyroll announced a $4 million Series A round of venture capital in February 2008.