Kadokawa: We Allied With Google or 'Black Ships' [Part 1]

Mar 10, 2008
Tomohisa Takei and Takeyoshi Yamada, Nikkei Electronics

Kadokawa Group Holdings Inc announced Jan 25, 2008, that it will operate new businesses including advertisement serving on the "YouTube" video sharing Website run by Google Inc's affiliate YouTube LLC.

Kadokawa will differentiate its businesses through a policy to not only provide its official content to YouTube but also proactively allow its content to be uploaded by users. To determine whether or not a user submission will be approved, Kadokawa will adopt video recognition technology developed by Google and YouTube.

Nikkei Electronics interviewed Tadashi Fukuda, president of Kadokawa Digix Inc, a Kadokawa group company, which has collaborated with Google in the development and will be primarily responsible for operating the technology from now on, for the cover story titled "Next Generation DRM Enables Free Copying" in the March 10, 2008 issue.

We will introduce the entire text of the interview dubbed "Kadokawa: We Allied With Google or 'Black Ships'" with a two-part interview in Nikkei Electronics (interviewers: Tomohisa Takei and Takeyoshi Yamada)

Q: Kadokawa Digix has been verifying Google's video recognition technology since July 2007. Have you decided to partner with Google and commence new businesses because the technology's recognition accuracy has risen to a satisfactory level?

Fukuda: We said, "the recognition accuracy is about 90%" at the press conference on Jan 25, 2008, but that high accuracy was only achieved when testing with current content on YouTube. If the kinds of content increase, the accuracy might lower in the future.

To begin with, the system that Google provided to us has only been 55% completed at this point, compared to the ideal 100%. However, the remaining 45% won't be fulfilled by discussing desk theories over and over. The only solution is to earn experience through practice. Then, we thought why not take the risk and start now.

As of July 2007, the technology's degree of completion was much lower, even lower than 20%. Now we've made it to the lowest acceptable level.

We considered we could start our businesses now as we've realized three key functions, namely a technology to automatically detect user submissions and stop them from being served on the Website, a technology to display the mark that represents the content is under Kadokawa's management, and a framework to return profits from ads and sales links to right holders.

I wouldn't consider YouTube is necessary if it were only to promote Kadokawa content. I wouldn't have formed the partnership just to provide our official content like other companies. The recognition accuracy wasn't the reason for our decision to partner with Google, and we are not seeking 100% accuracy from the beginning. Somebody had to start somewhere so we could move forward.

Video sharing Websites including YouTube are facing issues concerning copyright violations. Those issues are causing damages to some people. On the other hand, a huge number of other users are enjoying YouTube. Instead of saying "No" to everything, we'd better consider what we should do for the future, I believe.