Ahead of the year-end
sales campaign, the screenings for the Visual Grand-Prix and the Audio
Excellence Award have been held, and many outstanding products have received
recognition. The most pleasing thing about this year’s contests
was that the number of entries from makers exceeded last year’s
figure and reached about 600 items. This portends a lively year-end campaign
that we can look forward to with much expectation.
The names of
the awards sponsored by our company are not capped by any of our magazine
titles. The reason is that the philosophy behind the awards stems from
our company’s corporate philosophy of “contributing to the
constructive development of the industry.” Therefore, universality
is important. The first mission, the basic philosophy, is the development
of the industry.
What does “the development of the industry” mean? It means
that both retail stores and makers achieve development with the aim of
developing the final consumers. With the end users in mind, makers engage
enthusiastically in manufacturing and endeavor to meet user needs. Retail
stores deliver the desired products to customers with sincerity. These
actions and systems must be rooted in a basic philosophy that has nothing
to do with short-term profiteering.
At the same time, I believe that the sponsor of the awards must fulfill
its mission by continuing to thoroughly strengthen its media and carrying
on relentless efforts in the direction of even greater universality. A
firm response is necessary for this purpose.
Let me talk about the Visual Grand-Prix. For this award, recognition is
necessary of just how huge the visual market is, and marketing is essential
in this respect. In the screening process, I sometimes get to talk about
the market situation. The fact of the matter is that Japanese visual products
have gone beyond the domestic market, so demands relating to them have
globalized as well.
Accordingly, we have been strengthening our media for transmitting the
content of the award. One of these is the Phile-web, which we launched
in 2000 and have been earnestly upgrading in terms of content. The Phile-web
has grown to such an extent that the number of hits is now 200 million
a month. Seven years ago, in my New Year’s address, I declared to
our employees and to the industry that only publishing companies that
have Web strength will survive, and that, we can say, has become the reality.
At the same time as we have been strengthening our position on the Web,
we have also been adding color to our print media in order to attract
the Web generation. Our company’s monthly AV Review, bimonthly Home
Theater Phile, and quarterly Analog are completely colored; the quarterly
Audio Accessory is 70% colored from November; and this magazine, Senka
21, is 80% colored. In terms of strategy as well, it is now commonly accepted
that media are colored, and, I am happy to say, the value of our magazines
is further increasing.
The results of the Visual Grand-Prix, which are transmitted by our Web
and printed media, guarantee the excellence of products in stores that
carry the Visual Grand-Prix mark. Through the multiplier effect of the
Web and print media, the Visual Grand-Prix mark is a reassuring sign that
prods shoppers into making purchases. The purchasing ratio definitely
rises for these products.
Through this strengthening of collaboration with distribution, and also
by transmitting information to Taiwan and other Chinese-speaking regions
via a Chinese edition of Home Theater Phile and to the whole world via
the English version of the Phile-web, we are promoting the globalization
of the Visual Grand-Prix. For that reason, the responsibility is enormous.
At any rate, we must develop the award naturally, without deviating from
the basic philosophy.