HONOLULU, HAWAII (January 26, 2008) - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has become the first title sponsor of the Official Hawaii Podcast, a weekly, 20-minute audio show recorded in Japanese and available for download for free at www.hawaiipodcast.jp.
Launched in August 2007 by Orbitune, Inc., Nickong Enterprises, Inc., and PacRim Marketing Group, Inc., the Official Hawaii Podcast, now into its 22nd episode, is the most popular travel related Podcast in Japanese on iTunes, downloaded an average of 14,000 times per month. Popular content on the Official Hawaii Podcast includes Angela Maki's marathon reports, Hawaiian Fire surf tips, Hawaiian Gourmet dining reports, and musical features and interviews with Amy Hanaiali'i, Raiatea, John Cruz, Brothers Cazimero and more. Celebrities such as Roy Yamaguchi and Malani Bilyeu have also appeared. The Podcast is hosted by Akira Okada, a popular Japanese radio personality in Tokyo, and Yuki Hata, also popular with Japanese FM audiences.
The title sponsorship grants Starwood Hotels & Resorts access to a large group of Japanese listeners interested in Hawaii, and provides them with a new venue to promote their Hawaii hotels, restaurants, and events occurring at their properties, which include the Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian, and the Moana Surfrider among others. "We were impressed with the Official Hawaii Podcast's potential to reach our demographic market and communicate with them about Starwood in Hawaii and in particular, our Waikiki properties, new and exciting dining options, entertainment, and cultural activities," said Chris Wieners, Manager Online Marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
"We are pleased to have Starwood Hotels & Resorts as our initial title sponsor for this winter season and look forward to helping them meet their marketing needs through this new media channel," said Dave Erdman, president and CEO of PacRim Marketing Group, Inc.
Peter Williams, CEO of Tokyo's Orbitune, Inc. said that the Hawaii Official Podcast's association with iTunes enables Starwood Hotels & Resorts and future title sponsors to tap the millions of 25 to 40 year old, Japanese speakers now using this popular medium to download music and video content onto their computers, telephones, iPods, and other digital devices.
The Podcast also can be downloaded from hawaiipodcast.jp, the primary portal to the Official Hawaii Podcast, or from links found on the Hawaii No Arukikata website, (http://www.hawaii-arukikata.com), the largest Japanese commercial web site about Hawaii, which receives 2.8 million views per month. New episodes of the Official Hawaii Podcast will be available every Friday morning at 6 o'clock Japan time and Thursday mornings at 11 o'clock, Hawaii Standard Time. Subscribers will receive a download automatically. All episodes will be archived and available on demand from www.hawaiipodcast.jp, with the most recent episodes available on Apple's iTunes music store. All downloads of the Official Hawaii Podcast are free of charge.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts:
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood¨ Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis¨, The Luxury Collection¨, Sheraton¨, Westin¨, Four Points¨ by Sheraton, W¨, Le MŽridien¨ and the recently announced AloftSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
About Orbitune, Inc:
With its roots firmly in the Japanese broadcast industry, Orbitune has evolved into one of that country's preeminent new media channel and content creation and delivery companies. In addition to supplying countless programs and broadcast services to FM stations nation - wide, Orbitune has become a "narrowcasting specialist", delivering in-store audio to 8,500 Lawson stores via satellite 24-hours per day as well as providing HMV, Japan's in-store signal. As a podcast creator, Orbitune produces one of Japan's most successful downloadable daily programs, the Yomiuri (Shimbun's) News Podcast, a 20 minute digest of the morning newspaper and has scored major success and acclaim with the Nikkei/TOEIC podcast.
Founded in 1991, the Orbitune team brings together some of Japan's most experienced and creative voice and production talent, united in passion for what great audio-based media can do for clients and listeners alike. Orbitune prides itself on its ability to apply creativity to real business needs and opportunities, combining innovation and customization with real-world practicality.
About NickKong Enterpises, Inc.:
Longtime Island broadcaster and Hawaiian radio DJ icon for the Japanese market, Kamasami Kong brings over 30 years of experience of introducing Hawaii to Japan via radio waves. Kong's longstanding relationships with the Hawaiian music and entertainment industries and unique understanding of Japanese audiences provide invaluable creative input to the Hawaii Podcast.
Kong has been active in radio since 1965 with his most notable success coming in Hawaii from stations such as KKUA and KIKI and in Japan on FM Yokohama and Osaka powerhouse FM 802. Currently, Kong is doing a variety of programs on the JFN network; a jazz program on TOKYO - FM sponsored by the Tokyo Cotton Club and a weekly syndicated program called the "KAMASAMI KONG SHOW" which is prerecorded and heard on FM stations throughout Japan. He is also the producer and host for a weekly podcast that he brainstormed for METROPOLIS magazine and produces in conjunction with Orbitune called the "Tokyo MetPod."