BuzzFeed isn’t the only global news heavyweight entering Japan. The BBC, the UK’s national news organization, this week launched a Japanese site, which becomes its first dedicated non-English news website and helps extend its fledgling global advertising network.
Accessible via BBC.jp, it features selected content from BBC.com and the organization’s global news service which is translated into Japanese.
Much of the BBC’s operations is funded by the license fee, a mandatory charge that UK citizens pay to own a TV set, but the new Japanese presence is separate from that. The company said that the Japanese website — which is run by a team of editors based in Tokyo — is its “first fully commercially” non-English news site. In other words, it includes ads, and the BBC is hoping to lure potential advertisers with the promise of eyeballs in Japan.
“Japan has a very important and sophisticated audience for internet news and social media,” the broadcaster wrote in a news story announcing the Japan site. “Our research shows that each month nearly a million users of our English-language site come from Japan, and for 90 percent of these people, Japanese is their first language.”
The BBC is funded by the license fee, but, like other media firms, it is building an advertising business outside of the UK, where it is forbidden to run ads. It said that it is in the process of a commercial rollout across the BBC World Service’s websites — which are available in 28 languages — that, when completed, will allow advertisers to reach its global reader base of 132 million people each month. The Japanese site appears to be a first step to sharpening that focus on specific markets.
In addition to its global websites, the BBC also runs BBC World News and the global branch of BBC.com as commercially funded entities.