Nico Nico Douga Renamed as niconico in Service Upgrade
posted on by Egan Loo
On Thursday, the Japanese video streaming service Nico Nico Douga announced that it is renaming itself as Niconico. The name change is part of what the service describes as its largest systemwide revamp so far. (The English-language version of the service already goes by the name Niconico.) People can try the new "Zero" version at this weekend's Niconico Chōkaigi convention in Chiba.
Starting on May 1, a button will appear on the site, and it will allow users to choose whether to upgrade their accounts to the service's new "Zero" version. With ZeroWatch, the video resolution will increase from 640x368 to 854x486. (Live streams will expand to 810 x 456.) Edits to tags will be reflected on a page in realtime. Playlists, video selection windows, the video review column, live program listings, and users' My Pages have been revamped as well. A "nicoru" button similar to Facebook's "Like" button will allow user to rate comments, tags, videos, and items.
A 24-hour "Nsen" service will stream music, as chosen by the listeners' requests, in several channels. Finally, Niconico is offering a no-cost NicoSound music download service in AAC format with no digital restrictions.
According to Nobuo Kawakami (the head of Niconico's parent company Dwango) and Dwango director Takeshi Natsuno, the five-year-old service has 27.35 million users, as well as 1.62 million premium members who pay 500 yen (about US$6) every month for revenues of over 800 million yen (US$10 million). Last summer, traffic grew to 400 GBps.