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Japanese VOD service, UK prodco in doc copro

A Japanese video service and UK producer Blakeway Productions have come together to create a documentary miniseries.

Japan and Korea: Ties That Bind will run on VOD platform Niconico’s new current affairs and history strand, Niconico Documentary.

Ten Alps-owned Blakeway is attached to coproduce the 2x60mins show with Niconico, which claims to Japan’s biggest online video platform and is owned by local telco Dwango Company.

Ties That Bind, from director Ben Ryder, will explore the difficult relationship between Japan and neighbor Korea from an international perspective. A talk show with a panel of experts and a commentary show will accompany the series.

Niconico Documentary will also feature 2008’s Yasukuni, Italian-directed military-themed doc Standing Army and KBS-funded Bridal Mask.

Niconico launched in 2006 as a Japanese-created YouTube competitor and is now one of Japan’s most-visited video sites. English-language features were added in 2011, initially as a standalone site.

The site includes SVOD, free-VOD and a boutique, interactive advertising platform that is known as Niconico Ichiba (Affiliate).

Blakeway, meanwhile, is part of the newly-restructured UK production group Ten Alps. After coming through a period of financial instability, the listed company announced a new funding round and the acquisition of UK producer Reef Television.

“The Niconico platform is well suited to broadening debates and opening dialogue, we’re particularly excited by the expert talk show and commentary show that will accompany the two episodes, and hopefully encourage a robust multi-media dialogue with viewers. We hope this is the first of many collaborations between Niconico and Ten Alps.”

Ten Alps has previously coproduced docs such as Hiroshima in Asia, for Channel 5 in the UK and NHK in Japan via subsidiary Brook Lapping. Blakeway also made The Secrets of Branding for CCTV-2 in China last year.