Yahoo Japan launches 'myzo' service

Partners with Yoshimoto Kogyo for sponsored shorts

TOKYO -- Talent agency and production company Yoshimoto Kogyo has partnered with Yahoo Japan to launch "myzo," an online service set to offer sponsored original drama and comedy shorts starting in December, the company said Tuesday.

Yoshimoto, which announced a tie-up with CAA in September, is best known as Japan's largest comedy agency, though it also is a major TV production outfit and now also reps sports stars.

The online clips for myzo, just a few minutes long, will be created by Yoshimoto subsidiary Bellrock Media, which specializes in broadband and mobile content. The service will be free, and Bellrock is looking at unobtrusive ways to deliver sponsors' messages.

"The videos can include a branded story line, a lifestyle message or product placement. There are around a thousand of these two- to three-minute clips, all created by Bellrock and Yoshimoto, many of them featuring Yoshimoto comedians," Bellrock vp Kenneth Pechter told The Hollywood Reporter. "The service will launch for computers but the eventual aim is to take the whole thing mobile," he added.