Naked News breaking into Japanese market

By Julian Ryall
January 15, 2006


Lily Kwan in a broadcast for Naked News. Click here for video.
Tokyo - Naked News, which features anchors and reporters who disrobe during newscasts, launched its risqué take on current affairs in Japan Tuesday.

Beneath a banner proclaiming Naked News as "The program with nothing to hide," Sunrise Corp. CEO Takuya Uchikawa described the service as "a unique concept for the Japanese market."

Sunrise, which specialises in sales of goods and services via the Internet, and Naked News owner eGalaxy Multimedia have set a target of 10,000 mobile subscribers in the first year.

"We would not have dared to come to Japan unless we were convinced that there was a definite market, and we now see there is a massive market here, we have a partner that understands that market and the technological skills to provide an enjoyable product," eGalaxy Multimedia Inc. CEO David Warga said.

Since making its debut in Canada in 1999, Naked News has become available via the Internet, television and mobile phones in North America, Australia and Europe.

"We believe there is a huge untapped market for the right kind of information if it was properly packaged," Warga said. "So we created a news-entertainment program in which women, and later men, informed while removing their clothing."

The service initially will be news that is provided for Naked News' existing markets but with Japanese subtitles. The plan is eventually to produce content in Japan that will appeal to a larger percentage of the population.

Another area being tested concerns the degree of nudity of the presenters. Initially, newscasters will strip to their underwear, but Uchikawa indicated that he hopes to be able to see how far Japanese obscenity broadcasting laws can be bent before they are broken.

Canadian-born presenter Lily Kwan has been peeling off her work clothes for five years and described the experience as "liberating."

"I love being able to go out onto the streets and take my clothes off," she said. "While we have been in Tokyo, people have been very surprised to see us with no tops on, but they're very happy and interested in talking to us."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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