Billboards In Japan

Hanshin Contents Link Corp., a subsidiary of Osaka-based Hanshin Electric Railway Co., announced September 14th a collaborative venture with New York-based VNU Business Media to be the exclusive agent of the “Billboard” brand in Japan.

At present, HCL manages the Blue Note nightclub in Osaka as well as the contents business for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. HCL already operates the official mobile telephone site for Billboard in Japan, and the new agreement will allow the company to expand their Billboard-related business.

Among the proposed ventures is a Japanese version of, related audio and video production and sales, TV programming, and sub-licensing of the “Billboard” brand.

However, the main aim of the new licensing agreement will be three new nightclubs bearing the Billboard name.

Three Billboard Live venues will open in Japan next summer: one in Tokyo, one in Osaka, and one in Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu. Billboard Live Tokyo will be located in the new Mid Town office complex currently under construction in the fashionable Roppongi district.

Billboard Live Osaka will replace the current Blue Note Osaka in the summer of 2007. Billboard Live Fukuoka will also open in the same space as the former Blue Note Fukuoka, which is now operated as the Soul Bird concert venue and gospel school.

– Philip Brasor