Case study: Natalie (Japan)

Based on an interview with Takuya Oyama, Natalie founder March 22 2011.

The name of the publication and / or company

Natasha, Inc.

Established

December 28th 2005

Web Address

natalie.mu (corporate site www.natasha.co.jp)

Form of the company

Business corporation (joint-stock company)

Natasha, Inc. is a privately owned web publisher, located in Shimo-kitazawa Tokyo, Japan. Company publishes web news site Natalie (http://natalie.mu/) which concentrates on domestic entertainment news content – music, comics, comedies etc.

Describe your site or business in few words.

Natalie is a pop culture news website operated by web publisher Natasha, and covers stories about things such as Japanese music, manga, and standup comedy. News released by Natalie comes from record companies and music agencies for music news, publishers and manga writers for manga news, and talent agencies and TV stations for stand-up comedy news.

One of the website’s design characteristics is that it does not restrict its user. The bookmarks are not Natalie-specific bookmarks, but are tied in with existing companies such as Yahoo! bookmarks, livedoor bookmarks, and Hatena bookmarks. In this way, the website is designed to function as a news website.

Main audience are men and women between their late teens and early 30s.

A user page for Natalie was developed in 2008, and included a social networking service feature. However, this feature proved unpopular and was subsequently removed, turning Natalie into a news-only website. Nonetheless, Natalie still benefits from social networking, where a lot of its news has ended up on Twitter.

From the website: “Natalie is the next generation type data communications service which can obtain information you require by on demand. We produce original content such as the latest music, comics, and comedies in real time.”

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid full-time

1 editor in chief

2 editors

14 writers

3 web designers

Content creators, paid freelancers

1 editor

Business, marketing & sales, paid full-time

2 business

1 non-executive director

System engineers, paid full-time

2

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

60% advertising, 30% selling news, 10% affiliates.

Majority involves tie-up advertising, and the rest in ad networks.

Natalie makes up for 80% of Natasha’s revenue.

Revenue

Not available.

Selling products or services (digital or virtual)

A small portion of the earnings comes from digital book and iPhone application sales by Natalie’s Natasha business, website design, and writing for other media companies. In terms of web design, Natalie has designed official websites and corresponding operating systems for manga magazines, and has also designed and maintained websites for musicians.

Around 50 companies use news by Natalie, including major portal sites, Japanese mobile game sites, and social networking sites such as Mobage and GREE.

Do you see your publication as your main product?

We believe our main job is running Natasha, which accounts for 80 per cent of the Natalie business.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability?

10 years into the future, it has been predicted print newspapers and magazines will become a minority, but there will still be a need for content. We think the most important thing will to be to have as much skills in design and specialities in music and manga compared to any other company, and to take on the role that the print media had until now.