As the year 2016 gets well and truly underway, I would like to say a word about the philosophy of Ongen Publishing and my own basic thinking.
Concerning our company’s philosophy, our corporate principle is, in the words of our founder Seiji Iwama, to “contribute to the constructive development of the industry.” Now, what exactly does the “industry” mean here? My understanding is that essentially it means “products.” So in my view, our mission is to create demand and create markets so as to achieve the prosperity of the industry. This has been my belief for nearly 40 years now, and it is not going to change in the future either.
The first step in my activities came in 1971, when I was 27 years old and suggested the takeoff of cassette tapes. I called it the “first year of tape.” A symposium that I organized on the topic was a huge success. After that, I devoted my efforts entirely to the creations of markets—for component systems, mini component systems, single-item components, audio accessories, hi-fi components, digital sound, home theater, headphones, analog, and online audio.
My basic idea is that we can read the future by means of hypothesis and inspection. For nearly four decades now I have been appealing to the industry to think in terms of “tomorrow’s today.” This is the basic thinking of the entire company, a principle shared by all of our employees.
Also, in 1970 we launched the magazine Audio Senka with the aim of fostering audio specialty stores, and as the chief editor I devoted my utmost efforts to market creation and specialty store management. I visited specialty stores and large discount stores across the country, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, to gather information for articles, and even today I continue to have ties with stores that have gone through three generations of ownership. That is the reason why Ongen Publishing is so strong in distribution. The strength of Ongen Publishing lies in our close connections with the management teams of distributors and manufacturers and our good knowledge of products and marketing.
Our company has played an important role in driving market creation, launching the Audio Excellence Award in 1978, in commemoration of our thirtieth anniversary, and then the Visual Grand Prix (now known as just the VGP) in 1987, the Digital Camera Grand Prix in 2007, and the Analog Grand Prix in 2008. In the hope of further development, today we transmit information worldwide through the Phile-web site.
The keystone of our business in 2016 will be to achieve an ideal organic collaboration and linkage between this Phile-web portal site, which attracts 1.4 million audiovisual fans a month as unique users, and our printed magazines and free store papers. I think this will be a year in which we get even stronger in every department, including human resources, and respond to everyone’s expectations.
I believe that the readers of Phile-web are the vanguard of audio fans. They are mainly in their thirties or forties and are well-off, with an annual income of over ¥8 million; the rate of home ownership among them is 80%. And, surprisingly, many of them do not go to traditional specialty stores.
This fact was proven by a certain event to test a speaker system costing ¥7 million. On the Phile-web site we carried out a rigorous investigation to find readers who possessed audio systems compatible with such a grade of speaker, finding 120 people who did. After seeing, hearing, and touching the system, 5 people said that they wanted to buy it and 19 that they would consider buying it. And everyone replied that they would purchase the system if it cost from ¥2 million to ¥3 million rather than not ¥7 million.
Such well-off people undoubtedly form the core of Phile-web’s readership and are the audio vanguard. Moreover, the number of such people is increasing. To be honest, I was quite surprised when I realized the power of Phile-web.
aking note of this situation, and utilizing the know-how of our magazines, we are going to deploy the direct marketing system targeting Phile-web readers as our marketing strategy in 2016. We intend to contribute aggressively to our industry as a real pillar of market creation.