AOI Pro. And Tastemade Japan, a Lifestyle Media Joint Venture Owned by Mitsui & Co. and Tastemade, Inc., Form a Capital and Business Alliance

May 19, 2023

AOI Pro. (President: Hajime Ushioda, Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo, hereinafter referred to as "AOI Pro."), one of Asia's top film production companies focusing on advertising film production, and Tastemade Japan K.K. (Chief Executive Officer: Takuya Natsume, Head Office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, hereinafter referred to as "Tastemade Japan"), which operates the global lifestyle video media brand "TASTEMADE" in Japan, have entered into a capital and business alliance agreement to expand their content production capabilities and strengthen their media sales.

Background of the Capital and Business Alliance

Tastemade is a modern lifestyle media company that engages a global audience of more than 300 million monthly viewers on all major digital, mobile, and streaming television platforms, and creates award-winning video content and original programming in the categories of Food, Travel, and Home & Design. Tastemade Japan, the Joint Venture between Tastemade and Mitsui, has decided to partner with AOI Pro. to promote a multifaceted collaboration, taking note of the fact that AOI Pro. plans, directs, and produces a variety of creative content, and has all the resources necessary for high-quality film production.
With a long track record and established reputation in the television advertising space (more than 1,000 advertising films and other entertainment content annually), AOI Pro. will further enhance Tastemade Japan’s media business and content offering.

Future Objectives

AOI Pro. will leverage the capital and business alliance to drive growth in various areas. By combining Tastemade Japan's expertise in programming for one of the largest social media audiences in Japan with AOI Pro.'s world-class film production know-how, the company aims to achieve the following objectives.
1.   Production of a wider range of content for digital platforms
Tastemade Japan has proven expertise in food and travel content, often featuring notable celebrities and influencers. Going forward, AOI Pro. will help expand the business’s content production offerings on digital platforms, including sponsored content.
2.   Regional development through digital marketing
AOI Pro. aims to contribute to regional development by stimulating demand for local tourism, products, culture, and other attractions through high-quality films and other creative means to domestic and international audiences via social media.
3.   Creation of strategic added value through collaboration among shareholders
Tastemade Japan's existing shareholders – Mitsui & Co. and Tastemade, Inc. in the U.S. – with AOI Pro. will collaborate to further develop communication strategies on digital platforms as well as new lifestyle content, and will provide services to brands/companies that feature unmatched CX (customer experience).
The collaboration will cater to inbound and outbound demand and implement advanced U.S. media models authentically tailored to audiences and advertisers in Japan.

(From left) Takuya Natsume, Chief Executive Officer of Tastemade Japan; Hajime Ushioda, President of AOI Pro.; Tsutomu Osada, Managing Officer & Chief Operating Officer of Retail Business Unit of Mitsui & Co.

Comment from Takuya Natsume, Chief Executive Officer of Tastemade Japan

Since Mitsui & Co. started an investment and strategic business alliance with Tastemade Japan in 2020, we have been making various efforts such as strengthening sales and marketing by utilizing Mitsui's network and developing new businesses. As a result, we see the opportunity to further improve our film production capabilities and seek a strategic partner in this field. We are committed to improving our film production capabilities and the creative quality of our clients' projects through our capital and business alliance.

Comment from Hajime Ushioda, Representative Director & President of AOI Pro.

Our 60-year history has allowed us to build a large creative network and acquire exceptional production and product management skills, which we believe can enhance our clients' brand equity. We are excited about this opportunity as it marks the beginning of our transformation from a "film production company" to a "film business company."
Despite the ever-changing market, insights, and evolving perceptions in the world, we will carefully follow these changes in our craft and remain committed to building trust and value with Mitsui & Co. and Tastemade Japan.

Comment from Steven Kydd, Co-Founder of Tastemade Inc.

"As a leading programmer in lifestyle categories, Tastemade is honored and excited to partner with AOI Pro," says Steven Kydd, Co-Founder & President, Tastemade, Inc. "We believe that this provides a great opportunity to accelerate and invigorate Tastemade Japan’s business with new and exciting content, authentic storytelling, and valuable relationships within the media industry."

(From left) Steven Kydd, Co-Founder & President of Tastemade, USA; Hajime Ushioda, President of AOI Pro.; Larry Fitzgibbon, Co-Founder & CEO of Tastemade, USA

Overview of the Companies

■ Tastemade Japan
Tastemade Japan, the Joint Venture between Tastemade and Mitsui, was established in 2016 to develop the lifestyle media "TASTEMADE" in Japan. The company has grown to have a total of nine million followers on social media such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Pinterest.
In addition to the operation of the company’s own accounts, they also provide creative direction for films and photos, as well as social media operation know-how for the native social media generation to sponsors and brands.

■ AOI Pro.
Since its establishment in 1963, AOI Pro. has earned a top-class position in Asia as a film production company focusing on TV commercial production. In addition to producing over 1,000 advertising films annually, the company also produces feature films and dramas. AOI Pro.'s in-house resources include planning, directing, producing, 3D-CGI production, studios equipped with the latest equipment, and post-production. AOI Pro. also has a global division consisting of in-house bilingual producers, as well as production bases in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, U.S.A., and other international locations, which enables the company to take on global projects. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, the company today is engaged in film production and various other content and services.

Tastemade Japan: official social media account

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