Mark and Mary Devlin are the founders of Newslines. Born in Scotland, Mark and Mary moved to Japan in 1989. In 1993 they started handing out a four-page classified ads sheet on Tokyo streets. Over 14 years that sheet grew into Metropolis, Japan’s No 1 English Magazine. In 2000 they founded japantoday.com, the No. 1 news and discussion site about Japan in English. In 2007 Mark & Mary sold their businesses and moved to the United States where they opened Kroaky’s, a private karaoke room business. In 2014 they launched Newslines, an innovative news timeline site. They have two children and now live in Glasgow, Scotland.
GPlus Media, the company that publishes Japan Today, is sold to Fuji TV-Lab, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings Inc. The sales also includes GPlus’ other internet properties, including GaijinPot and Real Estate Japan. Fuji TV-Lab:
The Japanese government has set an annual target of 20 million foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympic/Paralympics Games and Fuji Media Holdings expects this will increase the demand for media targeting foreign residents and visitors to Japan at an accelerated pace. In the context of this trend, Fuji Media Holdings understands that there is a favorable opportunity to create several inbound/outbound businesses and thus welcomes GPlus Media and REJ into the group to strengthen its ability to reach the foreign community in Japan.
After publishing over 700 issues, the Devlins sell Metropolis to Lloyd, a New Zealand and Australian dual national, based in Japan. Over 14 years the magazine has grown to over 80 full-color pages every week made by a team of 35 staff from all over the world. The magazine has annual sales of ¥360 million and 20% profit, from hundreds of display and commercial classified advertisers and is, by far, Japan’s No 1 English magazine. A brief history of Metropolis is here.
From 1994 Tokyo Classified readers are able to place ads using an online BBS system. As the Internet grows in popularity Mark & Mary start Crisscross Internet, one of the first Internet Providers in Japan. Crisscross’s “Instant Internet” allows anyone to access the Internet by calling a premium-rate telephone number from their modem for an per-minute fee of ¥20 (approx $0.2). The business grows rapidly and gains over 5000 customers.
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