How a cable television operator inJapan improved its local TV offering

How market research gained insights into local viewers’ needs for community channels

By Jupiter Telecommunications, the largest cable TV operator in Japan.

Why?

Local programs for local viewers

Jupiter Telecommunications has the means to produce TV programmes with a local focus. In a western Japan area, Kansai, producers were worried about what was suitable coverage for local viewers, potential miss match between the content of local programmes they provide and what the local viewers want.

How?

Focused ethnography with graphic facilitator and workshop

First, traditional focus group interview (FGI) were conducted using participants from five districts in Japan. Prior to the second FGI, subjects were asked to view various local programmes and write down how they felt whilst viewing. During the second FGI, a graphic facilitator drew illustrations about contents of subjects’ conversation which could also stimulate their mind reflexively. After the second FGI, a workshop was held with station managers, producers and directors of TV programmes to feedback the viewers wants and needs using flash reports and illustrations.

So what?

Change local policy of programming

This research showed that inhabitants are pleased to have information about their areas which are very local. It was found that they don’t have enough information about events or the sales in local area, while they are already watching broader Kansai news on major terrestrial TV network as well as national or global news. In addition, people living in traditional area like Kyoto tend to be exclusive to some extent. People like born in Kyoto show no interests even in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan.

The cable operator changed its programming strategy of community channels into “ultra local” accordingly to the research findings.

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