Nintendo Announces Wii Video Service In Japan

Since someone recently said in a comment here at ReelSEO that gaming consoles will never be a platform for watching videos, I had to post this. Basically Nintendo and Wii-no-ma Inc partnered with Dentsu and have announced two new channels for the Wii and DSi respectively Wii-no-ma and Dokodemo Wii-no-ma (the DSi-only version).

Wii-no-ma is a combination of Wii and "Ocha-no-ma" – a Japanese traditional style of living room where all the family members stay together. Wii-no-ma symbolizes a space where people stay together, smiling. They are aiming to establish "Wii-no-Ma" as the new video broadcasting service with unique features.

The video offerings at first will be limited because they are aiming at only providing new, first run stuff and there is no backlog to pull from. They did not want to simply bring things over from other platforms (like YouTube or traditional television) but are aiming for content made specifically for the channel and its audiences. Programs will be created by those in the television and advertising industries. Each of the five 'key' Japanese TV stations have agreed to supply the system with content and if it expands out of Japan I can see it getting a lot of interest from elsewhere.

It's pretty much a video-on-demand service with the Wii as the set-top box and the Wii Remote as the interface. Users can rate and review programs which will help the service gauge the proper audience for the programs and help advertisers better target their products while still maintaining user privacy by not collecting personal information.

But what about all those other programs that don't have enough ratings? The service will also offer a 'latest programs' area where you can find things that haven't achieved high ratings or are new to the service so as not to let them get buried under the crush of the pre-existing content.

Another area is actually driven by your Miis and famous peoples' Mii might drop into your Wii-no-ma to suggest videos to you when they visit your particular area, as far as I can tell from the video and translation. It's called "Concierge Mii”

In Wii-no-Ma, all the programs, videos, and the information are done according to interaction from the users. Even advertisement are not an exception. They propose to let users actively choose what they want to watch. So I'm guessing you can skip some ads or tell them to not show you others or not see them unless you click on them.

They seem to have gotten a good number of broadcasters and advertisers on board who are interested in this specific targeting of video. There must be enough advertisers to put some money in pockets all around because the beginning will see everything free.

They mentioned that they are planning overseas deployment of the service at a later date and are also planning on having pay-per-view content as well. No big surprise there now is it?

You can expect a lot of Japanese anime and manga to start out I bet considering the large number of multi-genre content that they provide including video games.

Other features of the system include or appear to include broadcaster compensation based on audience size and satisfaction. Since the system is free it will be ad-supported however no ad is shown unless the user actively chooses it. Innovative to say the least.

After watching video programs on Wii-no-Ma, users are guided to "Kaisha-no-Ma" (Companies' Room) of our partner companies and they choose what they want to watch. There are twelve screens in Kaisha-no-Ma. Each of them can be utilized for companies to communicate with the customers in a way like casting video, questionnaires, giving out a voucher or delivering sample to the household. Advertisement videos have no limitation of length like 15 or 30 seconds. As the user will actively choose to watch the video with some interest in it, the user and the company can communicate deeply about the product or service, without the limitation of the length. "Kaisha-no-Ma" has been designed as a stage of communication between customers and companies or verification of a hypothesis. Basically they believe that people will want to watch the advertisements and that this will in fact improve user interaction with the company and its products.


Up to 8 Mii can live in one Wii-no-ma channel and time passes there at a normal pace. After watching a program, you and each member of your family can evaluate the program; tell your friend or family member as a recommendation, attaching a message; or carry it by transferring it to the exclusive software of Nintendo DSi, "Doko-demo Wii-no-Ma”. Also, you can move to "Kaisha-no-Ma" (Companies' room) which partnership companies of "Wii-no-Ma" run, after watching the program. In "Kaisha-no-Ma”, you can watch videos which each partner company recommends; make an order of delivering samples of new products to the address which you will have registered; or send video vouchers which you can actually use in stores to your Nintendo DSi. Various functions of "Wii-no-Ma" can be used by choosing TV, calendar and so on in the room.

Dokodemo Wii-no-ma (DSi portable version)

It basically lets you take your Wii-no-ma videos on the road. After you watch something on the Wii you will be asked if you'd like to transfer it over to your DSi.In "Kaisha-no-Ma”, a part of "Wii-no-Ma”, you can send various video vouchers which partner companies offer to your DSi. You can show video vouchers at the stores to receive a variety of special services. Sweet Jesus it's video coupons!

What does this mean to you?

On-demand advertising? Opt-in video coupons? Higher consumer interaction? Well, it seems like Nintendo is not only revamping online video services but they're also trying to revitalize advertising in general. They believe that since the users will actively decide what ads and promotional material to see there will be a higher level of satisfaction and they will be more likely to run out and buy your stuff. It could work. Recent studies have shown that viewers now are more than happy to watch videos in order to get free video content on Internet, so why not on their own TV? I would love to have some high quality video content for free that all I needed to do in order to ensure I keep getting it is spend a little time in Kaisha-no-Ma and play around with the company's interactive presentation. IF I get coupons and special offers or free products out of it, all the better!

This seems to be a new innovative way to use video online for marketing and entertainment. Plus doesn't it just sound cool to have celebs drop into your virtual living room and say things like "Dude, I just starred in this rad film…check it out." In case you couldn't tell, that was my Keanu Reeves Mii imitaiton.

About the Author -
Christophor Rick is a freelance writer specializing in technology, new media, video games, IPTV, online video advertising and consumer electronics. His past work has included press releases, copy-writing, travel writing and journalism. He also writes novel-length and short fiction as part of Three-Faced Media . View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • reelseo

    Yup - Gaming Consoles are the future