I didn’t know about DMM until a couple of years after I moved to Japan. And the first thing I learned about the company wasn’t its pornography business. I actually first learned that it was known for adult entertainment after mentioning the name to a fellow worker at the company I did freelance for in Singapore. But my closest contact with the company was when I got an interview to do adult movie title translations for the company. At the interview, I was given a test and never in my life have I written such dirty language before. I’m pretty thankful I didn’t get the job.
DMM has its hands in many industries now and paid lots of money advertising on TV and billboards. The company has also since made a name in the gaming industry with rave reviews on games such as Elder Scrolls. Now, the company is in over 40 businesses including pornography, gaming, solar power, FX, online English conversation school, 3D printers, construction of aquarium, and the mining of cryptocurrency. They also dished out some 7 billion yen (approx. US$70 million) to acquire a very new startup, Bank, Inc., the company responsible for the CASH app.
On March 1 this year, DMM split off its biggest money-maker (i.e. pornography), and announced its intention to proceed hereafter as a digital commerce company, displaying interest in the securities industry. This move is seen to be part of the company’s preparation to go public.
The company was built up by its current chairman Kameyama Keishi. Kameyama was born to a merchant in Ishikawa prefecture and later moved to Tokyo to become a tax accountant. He dropped out of school midway and returned to Ishikawa to help with his family’s business. In the late 80s, they opened a video rental store and it became a big hit.
While there are numerous successful business owners in pornography, Kameyama was different in his foresight. After setting up his own pornography production house, he bought over many other production companies and took ownership of video copyrights. The company then transformed from a mere rental store to become a full-fledged production firm. Kameyama then set his eyes on streaming pornography online grabbing a huge share of the industry from production to rental and streaming.
With this huge stream of income, Kameyama began investing in other businesses, and through M&A, the company grew its annual revenue to a whopping 180 billion yen (approx. US$1.8 billion). There appears to be no reason for such a huge business to dig its hands into the securities industry. However, what necessitated this was its biggest business, i.e. porn.
Many of the players of the pornography industry are anti-social bodies. Further, the societal problem of people being coerced into appearing in pornographic videos has gotten the government involved in stamping out such crimes. Thus, an expected set of new regulations to the industry makes it understandable that an IPO would be difficult if the company relied solely on the adult video business.
Kameyama, however, denied rumors that he intends to list the company, but what will actually happen is still to be observed.