10th Anniversary of Phile-web

Phile-web, the audio and visual portal site operated by our company, marked its tenth anniversary on July 1. How time flies! It was 10 years ago when we launched the site, but it seems just like yesterday.

Looking back at the time when we founded Phile-web, I remember that we published Hometheater Phile as a supplement of the AV Review magazine in 1998. "Phile" has the meaning of people sharing the same interest, so we used that word in the title. Furthermore, Mr. Mitsuharu Nagai, who is now a exective managing director of our company, suggested that the readers, manufacturers, and installers who appeared in the magazine should be given a "Phile number." I thought that was an interesting proposal and immediately gave my approval. Now 1,500 people, beginning with Mr. Tomoaki Ogura, have acquired the "Phile number."

It was at the start of the following year, 1999, that Mr. Nagai suggested launching a homepage, and I immediately approved this proposal, too. Times had changed since the appearance of Windows 95 in 1995, but even before then I had been interested in the Internet. I remember accessing the website of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, printing out copies of an image of Halley's Comet, distributing them to the staff of our company, and telling them about the major changes on the horizon.

Ongen Publishing's homepage, which we called Phile-web because it brings "fans" together, was launched in July 1999. We did not include the names of our magazines in the site's title because it had absolutely no relationship with them. We also excluded any bulletin board, which would enable people to write whatever they want without identifying themselves. That would have been against my principles.

By about the first anniversary of Phile-web, we had determined its direction and concept. First of all, it would be established as a business. And second, since a company-only site operated by Ongen Publishing would not realize the spirit of "contributing to the constructive development of the industry," which is our company philosophy, we would operate it as an "audio and visual portal site."

Once this basic concept had been decided, we got a sense of success. The whole company got together to work out a setup, and eventually Phile-web made a full-fledged start in June 2000. It was a definite manifestation of our company philosophy of "contributing to the constructive development of the industry."

Since daily updating is the life and blood of a portal site, as the contents maker, we had all the editorial staff of Ongen Publishing's various publications upload news every day. Around that time we also began the Audio Visual Products Database, which has now developed to a scale unparalleled in other sites. And later, among other things, Phile-web began to operate the Japanese-language official site of the IFA in Berlin (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, or International Radio Exhibition Berlin), which is the largest consumer electronics trade fair in the world.

Ten years on, Phile-web now has more than 300 million hits a month and over 12 million page-views, and it regularly brings together more than one million people who are fond of audiovisual equipment. In both name and reality, it has become a mega-site driving the industry. Phile-web has also achieved reasonable results as a business. It has won wide praise from audiovisual circles and others, and we have received many requests for collaboration.

At the beginning of 2000 I declared that "only publishing companies with a strong Web presence will survive." In the tenth anniversary of Phile-web, I can see that time fast approaching.