ClearChannel Clears out of Japan

Chris Phelan

Just two and a half years after entering the Japan market, ClearChannel Outdoor may have decided to close up shop. The world’s largest outdoor advertising company, with nearly 1 million displays worldwide and operating in 49 countries, is we believe leaving the world’s third largest advertising market.

The out of home behemoth began operations in Japan in September 2006 focusing on the bus shelter market and an initial 20 year contract with Kawasaki City looked promising.

Japan’s notoriously long sales cycle and fierce competition for JCDecaux Japan operations, called MCDecaux (Mitsubishi Trading, a 40% shareholder, provides the ‘M’) likely hindered the company’s expansion efforts.

ClearChannel’s joint venture partner in the Japan market, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., balked on increasing investment in expensive, long term municipal bus shelter contracts and was faced with the prospect of heavy long term investment in one of the world’s toughest market’s to penetrate.

ClearChannel Japan experimented with Digital Signage pilot projects, none of which got out of testing stages.

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