When a friend sent me this I chuckled, but then I thought, "why not"? ^-^
(originally in the Wall St Journal)
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 5:22 PM
Subject: Japan's newest investment product: Idol funds
This Japanese Investment Gives
New Meaning to 'Glamour' Stock
Product Called Idol Funds
Allows Profits or Losses
Based on 5 Heartthrobs
By ASAKO TANABE
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
TOKYO -- The securitization market keeps pushing the envelope. The latest
"asset" that investors can invest in: pinup girls.
Japan Digital Contents Inc. said it plans to allow investors to buy an
investment product that will rise or fall based on the careers of five
female entertainers. It hopes to draw five million yen ($46,266) into five
separate funds from individual investors. This is the latest twist on
turning entertainment assets into an investment, such as the investments
tied to musicians' future royalties that became known as Bowie bonds.
"Apart from the expected financial returns as an incentive, the funds aim to
give investors a sense of satisfaction, that they're supporting the
entertainers as fans," said Tomoki Hamao, the company's spokesman and
planning manager. The funds "will become a kind of fan club," he said.
Japan Digital expects a typical investor in these "idol funds" will be a man
in his late 20s or 30s who uses online securities firms.
Investors can buy into the funds in units of 50,000 yen, through accounts at
online brokerage firm Jet Securities Inc. In exchange for their investment,
they obtain rights to proceeds from sales of photo books and DVDs that
feature the personalities.
Japan has a fast-growing securitization market. Jurassic Park Institute Tour
Inc. this year attracted 1.5 billion yen from investors who bought into
funds in return for a share of ticket sales from a theme park that was based
on the successful movie of the same name. In 2001, Music Securities started
its first fund to invest in unknown musicians, whose CD sales resulted in
double-digit percentage returns to investors.
Other funds have offered investors exposure to videogame and movie sales.
The five entertainers, who were selected after a number of auditions, will
work independently of each other, so returns on each of the funds will be
different depending on their success, Mr. Hamao said.
Japan Digital plans to unveil the as-yet unknown entertainers at a news
conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. "Investors can take a look at each girl's
photo and profile and decide which one will make it," Mr. Hamao said.
Japan Digital's funds will mature March 31, 2006, and the firm hopes the
funds will pay a first dividend in March 2005.
Write to Asako Tanabe at asako.tanabe@...
Updated November 20, 2003 12:57 a.m.