Our company has entered its spring-to-summer awards month. The screening committee for the Digital Camera Grand Prix 2010 Summer award has already ended, and the results have been announced in AV Review magazine and on our Phile-web site. At the same time, we are issuing 100,000 copies of a free paper called Okaimono Gaido (Shopping Guide), which we are distributing at stores that participate in the awards and at Yodobashi Camera and Biccamera stores. This free paper has been so popular that supplies ran out just three to five days after distribution began, and stores report that it has definitely been useful in boosting sales.

Actually, it is also possible to view this free paper in e-book form via the Phile-web site. After we displayed a button on the top page of this site, access increased dramatically. Phile-web now has about one million visits a month from people who are interested in audiovisual equipment, so clearly the effect is quite something. It means that people can view the free paper from anywhere in Japan and can scrutinize digital cameras and related products. In other words, it is a national free paper targeting a potential readership of one million people.

Naturally, in addition to the free paper for stores, we will be making efforts to publicize the results of the Visual Grand Prix 2010 Summer to be announced on June 17 in e-book form as well, and the impact will surely be immeasurable. For this reason, we realize also that our responsibilities regarding the awards are becoming even more immense and are prepared to take the greatest care possible so as to create markets, stimulate demand, and contribute to the constructive development of the industry.

Looking at the entries for the Visual Grand Prix, in the case of televisions in particular, it is clear that companies have channeled enormous amounts of energy into technological development and product planning. Moreover, 3D television, which is potentially expected to have the same degree of effect as the eco-point system, has well and truly stepped up to the starting line, and makers together can be expected to drum up this market from summer to the year-end sales campaign.

In this sense as well, flat-panel televisions are reaching a peak, and it can be said that the stage has been set for a drive toward what I have described as “golden 2013.” Making full use of the Internet, we are determined to respond to this situation through the awards that we sponsor, such as the Visual Grand Prix, the Digital Camera Grand Prix, and the Audio Excellence Award.

Not only the free paper but all of the magazines issued by our company are now available in e-book form. The appearance of Apple’s iPad was wonderful news for our efforts, and I think it is perfect timing for making a change from virtual-real to virtual-real-real. It is for this purpose that we have been making steady efforts until now, including the digitization of magazine editing; the building over 45 years of trustworthy relations with Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. which made this electronic switch possible; the nurturing of outstanding staff; and of course our “sunflower marketing” strategy, which gives us a firm direction. Now is the time when various things are coming to fruition and expanding our dreams.

We are now in an age in which if you search on the Internet, you can easily obtain highly informed information in a timely manner via your computer, mobile phone, television, or whatever. But even though the Internet is a fantastic tool, in the end the strength and breadth of the information is decided by what choices the searchers make. If we do not take firm hold of the great swell, it will flow back out to sea again in an instant.

In order to prevent that from happening, we are determined to identify the qualities of our magazines and the Internet and develop our management on the basis of “tomorrow’s today” thinking. Using the infrastructure that we have built so far, we hope to deliver our user-oriented awards without fail to every corner of Japan.