The Hokuto Corporation(株式会社北都,Kabushiki Kaisha Hokuto?) is a Japanese joint stock company involved in the distribution of adult videos (AV) and adult toys. The firm, founded in March 1990, is headquartered in Tokyo at the Ebisu Garden Place Tower. By late 2008, Hokuto was handling products from more than 150 different adult video studios, making it one of the largest AV distributors in Japan. The company interfaces with the public for sales and information as Outvision.
As of July 2007 Hokuto had 185 employees and total assets of 16,618,000,000 yen (about $166 million). Stockholders equity was 6,073,000,000 yen (about $60 million) and company capital amounted to 45 million yen (about $450,000). Sales for the fiscal year ending February 2007 were 28,366,000,000 yen (about $283 million) with sales for the 2008 fiscal year extrapolating to about 30 billion yen (about $300 million). Hokuto had a period of rapid growth from the time of its foundation with sales going from 5.1 billion yen (about $50 million) in fiscal year 2001 to 6.2 billion yen ($60 million) in 2002, 9.8 billion yen ($100 million) in 2003 and 12.3 billion yen ($125 million) in 2004. Under CEO Hiroyuki Shimazaki (島崎啓之), Hokuto caught up with and surpassed its chief rival in AV sales, the Soft On Demand (SOD) group. Some companies which had formerly been part of SOD, including Dogma, Hajime-Kikaku and Aroma Planning, left SOD to become clients of Hokuto.
According to the Japanese market research company Teikoku Databank, after this period of rapid growth, there was a sharp drop in sales at Hokuto, probably due to competition from internet porn sites. From a high of 32.4 billion yen (about $330 million) for fiscal year 2008, income dropped to less than half that amount for the 2010 fiscal year and rival SOD once again became the largest adult conglomerate in Japan.
In addition to handling distribution to retailers, Hokuto also runs the DMM Corporation (株式会社デジタルメディアマート or "Digital Media Mart"), incorporated November 1999, which is a major distributor of videos in Japan for both sales and rental and also provides pay-per-view and downloadable digital adult content via its website dmm.co.jp. The director of DMM is Tatsuya Matsue (松栄立也) and the company has a capital of 30 million yen (about $300,000). The DMM website was opened in July 1998 and in September 2011 was ranked #30 in traffic for Japanese sites, #177 in Hong Kong, and #422 globally, with an audience slanted towards middle-aged men.
As of September 2011 DMM had a catalog of more than 160,000 DVDs for sale, more than 200,000 adult videos available for rental and more than 130,000 videos for digital download. It also lists information on more than 30,000 AV actresses and compiles an annual list of the top 100 ranked actresses in sales from its site. In addition, the DMM site provides facilities for a large number of AV actress blogs. DMM also provided an English-language version, en.dmm.co.jp, for pay-per-view or monthly subscription downloads only, but it was discontinued on 29 April 2013.
AV Grand Prix
Upon the demise of the SOD-sponsored AV Open contest in 2007 owing to fraud, Hokuto started a new competition in 2008, the AV Grand Prix. Winners were determined by sales and by fan voting at the DMM website. The 2008 AV Grand Prix was a success with 77 studios competing and an even larger 2009 contest began in late 2008.
Companies in the Hokuto group
As of mid-2010, the Hokuto group included 20 studios producing gravure (non-nude) videos and another 19 units involved in adult toys. More than 150 companies were in the business of producing adult videos in various formats and genres. Below is a list of some of the main companies involved in AV production.
ABC (Art Body Collection)—"big-bust" models
Anna and Hanako (アンナと花子)—specializes in lesbian videos
Aroma Planning (アロマ企画)—specializes in more extreme "maniac" videos
Art Video (アートビデオSM)—features S&M and bondage videos
Attackers (アタッカーズ)—known for simulated rape and S&M material