Do you know the Japanese video site called Nico Nico Douga?
While it’s the second most popular video site in Japan after YouTube in terms of access, it is the most popular place for anime and game fan videos (otaku activities, songs, dances, etc). These days, you will not only find videos uploaded by individual users, but, increasingly, official content uploaded by creators of the anime / dramas themselves. Nico Nico Douga is becoming a leader in Japanese otaku culture.
Unique Comment Input
There has been discussion in Japan as to why Nico Nico Douga has been supported by users to such a great extent. Most would probably say the main reason is the unique way users are able to comment on the videos. When a user posts a comment, they can choose the exact moment their comment will roll across the video screen in subsequent viewings. As a result, multiple users who are watching the video can see the comments left by other users, and it creates an atmosphere of togetherness as if everyone were at the same concert.
Moreover, well-made comments can be as entertaining as the videos themselves.
Although the result of this functionality is not always positive (for example: users arguing back and forth in videos), there is no doubt it allows users to enjoy videos in a new way and, therefore, makes Nico Nico Douga unique.
International Expansion: Present and Future
On October 18, 2012, Nico Nico Douga was finally made available in English and Chinese. Depending on the user’s browser’s language settings, the site will automatically display in the the appropriate language. While the site has become much more convenient for foreign users, there are still problems. As most of the content is still uploaded by Japanese users, the descriptions / explanations are all in Japanese. This material has not been translated, so it is still hard for foreigners to search for desired content – but this can be fixed. They have added a feature whereby any user is able to translate titles and / or descriptions of any video into any of the three languages (English, Chinese, Japanese). To make the translated content easier to find, videos that have been edited will display with a colored frame and be introduced on the top page’s “newly translated” section. There is also talk of adding an automatic translating function to the description field for all videos at some point. In its current state, though, the environment still isn’t set up for foreign users to fully enjoy the site. I believe the success or failure of Nico Nico Douga’s overseas expansion will hinge on a “translating culture” taking root, and whether or not they can increase the number of good translators coming to the site.