"Do YouTube on your Japanese keitai?"

With over 100 million mobile phone users in Japan, no wonder YouTube have decided to expand in this market.

Announced in 2006 for America and in January of this year for the rest of the world, YouTube have partnered with Verizon Wireless to enable mobile access to their website.

The Japanese mobile YouTube (http://m.jp.youtube.com) has gone largely unnoticed, with very little media coverage from Japanese national news organizations.
Any coverage found is only in the IT media news sites or blogs.

Strange, considering the amount of coverage the PC version receives. Is mobile video still too far ahead in the future to really make an impact now?

Not in Japan, where sites such as Mobage and Mixi have already made use of Japanese mobile Internet capabilities by making sites and applications devoted exclusively to the cell-phone version. And of course, download sites have been readily available for quite a while, where music videos of relatively good quality are available for free.

But the YouTube site, compared to thes others, offers much better video quality and clips are unlimited in length, unlike on Mobage. The search functions are also easy to navigate, in contrast to the “underground” free download sites, and more like the PC version, have user ratings so you don’t have to spend ages sifting through the copy-cat videos to find the one you were looking for.

In theory, YouTube mobile should become very successful in Japan, especially considering that YouTube video-clips can become hot topics of debate, sometimes even making the news, as was in the case of Saddam Husseins’ last hours or Benazir Bhutto’s assasination , and also considering the popularity of using mobile Internet.

Perhaps news sites are worried that this could end up being competition for them. And perhaps they should be…

Other posts by Anna:


I doubt that YouTube has decided to explicitly join the Japanese market with its mobile site. The site had primarily been designed for the U.S. market before it got translated into all languages YouTube is available in anyways (French, Italian, Japanese, German, etc.).

Now why is it largely unnoticed in Japan? Because almost no phones with RTSP streaming capabilities are available in Japan. Thus the lack of coverage is not strange at all.

And yes, the video quality is better because unlike progressive download used by DoCoMo and other Japanese carriers YouTube Mobile uses streaming and is thus not bound to strict file size limitations.

Oh, and politics are not really considered a hot topic in Japan, are they? I think most people in Japan couldn't care less about Saddam Husseins' last hours. Lastly, due to the lack of RTSP clients the service will hardly be successful in the foreseeable future.

Anyone without unlimited data plans in japan is going to have a very expensive phone bill at the end of the month. thats why it hasnt taken off and wont until these plans become more ubiquitous. This article is ridiculous making unfounded claims and tenuous links when there is a very obvious answer, as if an SNS site like mixi would require anywhere near the number of packets as video streaming.

Taken from Youtube Japan's Mobile Site:

" Depending on your phone's model and the varying size of the video file, the video is split to an appropriate, corresponding size. For docomo 904i series and onward, this will be in intervals of 10 minutes. For docomo 903i phones, this will be 2 min 30 seconds. For au, the video is split every 2 minutes. Meanwhile, for Softbank phones the file is split every 20 secs."

You have to remember that like most things Japanese, Japanese companies do NOT want foreign, new or different companies coming in and interfering with their monopolies. Japanese phone companies dictate how and what they want, meaing the customer always loses out. Thus most Japanese have to pay for each and every downloaded file, which are nearly always propriety formatted to their won networks.

Thus, unsigned java applications, video files, music files etc will usually NOT work, even if they are tailored to work on most Japanese phones. Softbank, AU and DOCOMO have simply placed huge, crippling restrictions on their networks, phones to ban anything that isn't making them money.