Monday, August 30, 2010

Marketing Japan: What Will Happen to Tokyo Tower?

By Mike in Tokyo Rogers

I just got a photo sent to me of the new Sky Tree Tower that is nearing completion in Tokyo. The Sky Tree Tower was originally to be called the "New Tokyo Tower" but Tokyo Tower owners did not like that at all and protested so the name was rejected. You'll understand why when you've finished reading this article.

The project is being led by Tobu Railway and a group of six terrestrial broadcasters (headed by public broadcaster NHK). Construction of the tower is scheduled to be completed by December 2011, with the public opening in spring 2012.

The Tokyo Sky Tree will be taking over basically all of the broadcasting duties for all major Tokyo broadcasting stations. This is because the Tokyo Tower, which was built in 1958, is not tall enough to handle digital duties as there are too many tall buildings around it. Tokyo Tower is 333 meters tall and a landmark of Japan. The Sky Tree tower is almost twice as tall at 638 meters! The Sky Tree not only dwarfs the Tokyo Tower in height but will also dwarf it in revenue. Tokyo Tower has been losing money for years now, I think Sky Tree will be the final nail in the coffin. (Read more about the digital conversion and how that will kill off some major Japanese broadcasting stations here and here.)

According to Wikipedia, the Tokyo Tower's main sources of revenue are antenna leasing for broadcasting stations and tourism. They claim that over 150 million people have visited the tower since its completion. 

Considering that the Tokyo Tower is vey conveniently located in Tokyo, near tourist trap Roppongi, they might still be able to do some tourism business, but I think that's a pretty poor business for them. The last time I went there, the shops were deserted and the place definitely felt run-down.

I also heard some insider information about Tokyo Tower management that I wasn't supposed to tell to anyone, so I will write it down here for you. In the 1980, during the massive growth that was the Japanese bubble economy, the management of Tokyo Tower put millions and millions of dollars into very poor investments and now those bad investments have come back to bite them in the ass. Some of the worst - and stupidest - investments were spending tens of millions of dollars on, are you ready for it? Investments in golf club memberships!

In the heyday of the bubble, people would buy golf club memberships as investments, and many made good money off of them. But, as with any Ponzi scheme, when the scam runs out of suckers, the ones left holding the bag lose their shirts. Unfortunately for them, it seems that Tokyo Tower was one of the last into the game so they were left holding millions of bags. 

Now those investments are now worthless.  

I hate to keep saying doom and gloom for many Tokyo companies but, once again, I predict that after the digital conversion in July, 2011, Tokyo Tower will be insolvent within a very short time.

Who knows what will happen to it after that? One thing is certain, in future Godzilla movies, you won't be seeing Godzilla kicking over Tokyo Tower anymore. It will be Sky Tree... And in that symbolism there will be volumes spoken about what has happened to Tokyo and Tokyo Tower.

Thanks to:  Tatsuyaman


Keywords: Tokyo, Tokyo Tower, Marketing Japan, Mike Rogers, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, Mike in Tokyo Rogers

1 comment:

gebirgsjager6thss said...

Id hate to see Tokyo Tower disappear. It has been a landmark for so long. Ive seen it in so many anime and movies and I think it has more character than Skytree.