Nico Nico Douga (NicoDou), boasting its more than 6 million members and 170,000 premium users, is a phenomenal video-sharing site in Japan. Since its launch at the beginning of 2007, it’s been growing at an amazing speed, culturally influencing the Japanese society, and is now much more popular than YouTube (NicoDou takes 1/12 of the total internet traffic in Japan). It’s getting its revenue mainly from the premium users (about $700,000), banner advertisements($200,000), affiliate advertisements($150,000) and Nico Nico Market ($1 million. All numbers as of October, 2007). Here is the difference from YouTube and other video-sharing sites and some of the tips to fully enjoy NicoDou.

1. On-Screen-Comment Function

The most distinctive and unique feature of NicoDou which lacks in YouTube and other video-sharing sites is this on-screen-comment function(although YouTube recently added it). It’s not just the usual comment space you can find below the screen in YouTube. In NicoDou, you can freely add comments on the screen while you’re watching a video and the comments immediately appear on the screen(there are more than 1 million videos, 500 million views, and 100 million comments so far). With this function, you can feel that you’re watching the video with a lot of people around, just like watching TV with your friends and families, or in a big stadium if I exaggerate a bit. In fact, according to Hiroyuki, one of the executives of Niwango (the company behind NicoDou) and chief administrator of 2 Channel (the most popular and controversial BBS in Japan. I can’t cover it now but in order to understand the internet culture in Japan, you definitely need to understand the 2 Channel culture. Here’s a great article about Hiroyuki), the idea of this function derived from 2 Channel’s Jikkyo-Ita which literally means ‘a board of broadcast commentaries’. On a Jikkyo-Ita, while you are watching a sports program, you can make comments on the players, plays, or commentators like you are chatting with your friends. This way, you can enjoy the programs with many other people who are sharing the same interest simultaneously.

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Gang Lu

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.