Major Japanese advertising conglomerate Hakuhodo has launched new company Stories LLC to produce Hollywood and overseas films and TV programming based on existing Japanese contents.
Through forming partnerships with domestic contents creators, Stories will acquire screen adaptation and remake rights to novels, comics, games, and existing films and TV programming with the intention of producing titles for the global market.
Stories will be involved in screenplay development, production, distribution and sales in partnership with Hollywood and Asian production entities, with an emphasis on English-language projects. Sega brings its vast library of games and characters and Stories has already begun to acquire TV format and other rights.
Capitalized at $460,000 (Y35.1m), Stories was co-funded by Hakuhodo DY Holdings project investment subsidiary AD Plus Venture, Sega Corporation, Hakuhodo i-studio and and several other minority partners. Media planning and production subsidiary Hakuhodo DY Media Partners’ Tomoya Suzuki will serve as Stories’ CEO and creative producer. Suzuki received his masters at USC film school and produced award-winning 2010 short Tsuyako.
Ranking as the world’s seventh largest advertising firm in terms of annual revenue, Hakuhodo is a regular production committee member on feature films including From Up On Poppy Hill, Confessions, About Her Brother and Chinese production The Go Master.
Stories’ business model is similar to that outlined by All Nippon Entertainment Works (ANEW), announced in August and also set to begin operations this month. With a large initial investment equity of $78m (Y6b) ANEW’s collaboration partners include Hakuhodo rival Dentsu (Japan’s largest advertising firm), Asmik Ace and Fuji Television.
Japan has struggled to achieve its goal of increasing its percentage of export revenues accounted for by content sales into the double digits, leading to further emphasis on adaptations and remakes to boost the international profile and profit sharing of original contents creators.