Fuji TV’s Slow Downward Spiral Comes To Light In A New Report

Fuji Tv president invited employees for an early retirement recruitment with extra severance benefits.

Gendai Business, a web portal, looked into one of the top 6 TV stations in Japan and reported that the annual income of Fuji TV has dropped from 20 million yen to a shocking 7 million yen over the last 10 years.

An analysis of Fuji TV’s year-on-year annual income shows that the downfall had begun even before COVID-19 derailed industries across the globe.

YearAnnual Income(in yen)
20208.01 million
20197.76 million

The company’s current state of decline is also forcing the organization to come up with schemes that would help their employees look for additional options in the future, especially the employees in their 50s who are looking at a second career.

On November 25, President Osamu Kanemitsu, of Fuji Media HD and its subsidiary Fuji Television, announced the “Next Career Support Voluntary Retirement Program”. The target employees are over 50 years old and have been working for 10 years or more.

According to a Fuji employee, over 400 people (80% of the people who participated in the briefing of the scheme) working at Fuji are expected to leave the company under this new scheme.

While the employees see the voluntary retirement program as a way for Fuji TV to “resurrect” the company from its slump; they also believe the company is in a difficult situation. And one of the reasons for the current predicament is the retirement of young and mid-career employees. 

“Its like the 50 year olds who will quit under the early retirement system are running away. Rather, the big problem is that young employees are quitting one after another,” a former employee of the company expressed. “Fuji as a whole has retired about 40 people in the last few years, Most of them are young mid-career employees in their 30s who have been in the company for more than 10 years.”

Along with the young employees who quit prematurely, famous producers like Jun Masumoto known for the drama “Code Blue“, retired at the age of 43 in January 2019.

In June of the same year, Ryota Fujino, the producer of “Koinaka” and “A Girl and Three Sweethearts,” retired 14 years after joining the company, and Hiro Kanai, who was the director under Mr. Fujino, also retired. Both are currently active as freelancers.

According to Gendai, Fuji used to be one of the companies with the highest salaries in Japan, with a flood of applicants waiting to join the company. However, the current employee salary is said to be on par with ordinary large companies, one of the young directors said regretfully.

“Currently, I only get about 70% of the salary of employees in their 50s. I used to get bonuses of 2.5 million yen and 3 million yen, but now it’s 1 million yen even after my late 30s. Even if I’m dissatisfied with personnel, I’ll put up with leaving the company if my salary is good, but·······”

Another problem that did not appear in the business results but contributed to the slow death of the company is the freedom to create.

An employee in his 40s revealed in a variety show, that Fuji used to be different from other TV stations operating in Japan. It was Fuji TV’s culture to break the TV industry norm and make interesting things, something didn’t happen often in Japan. This is what prompted these employees to join Fuji TV.

“Today’s Fuji is exactly the opposite of what it used to be,” the employee said.

10 years ago a 30-min show on Fuji would have a production cost of around 3-4 million yen. However, these costs have been cut drastically (almost half) since then. A 40-year-old field employee complained that they are made to produce an hour-long late-night program for 1.5 million to 2 million yen

Employee producers from other stations commented, “Broadcasters are not gathering at Fuji, which has no freedom in production costs and planning. If it is poor, it will slow down. “

As a result of these factors, the audience rating, which shows the popularity and ability of TV stations, has also dropped significantly. It remains at 7.4% in 5th place among the six major stations (including NHK). However, after Fuji TV won the rights to broadcast  Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train the audience rating went up a little.

Fuji HD’s consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended in March 2021 showed sales of 519.9 billion yen, 17.7% down from the previous fiscal year. Operating profit was 16.2 billion yen, down 38.2% year-on-year, and net profit was 10.1 billion yen, down 75.5%.

Fuji TV is actively expanding into the tourism and real estate businesses including their existing media TV business. However, performance continues to be sluggish and it is affected more due to the influence of the new coronavirus.

Source: Gendai Business(1, 2), Fuji Media HD