Magazine article Variety

Japanese TV Bent on Solving Online Riddle

Magazine article Variety

Japanese TV Bent on Solving Online Riddle

Article excerpt

TOKYO

Japanese broadcasters, including the five commercial networks and pubcaster NHK, have long had an Internet presence, though monetizing online content is a mystery they have yet to solve.

But as young viewers continue to turn away from conventional TV to tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, broadcasters know they either must adapt to the cyberreality or dwindle away together with their aging core aud.

TV ad revenues rose 1. 1% to $21.3 billion in 2010, but earnings for many broadcasters fell in the first half of 2011, with the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster a contributing cause.

The result has been a flurry of initiatives designed to attract online viewers with not only new services, but also the crown jewels of network programming skeds.

In December, Nippon Television Network, Tokyo Broadcasting System and Fuji Television Network joined with ad shop Dentsu and distrib Toho to launch My Theater D.D., a service that streams network-produced pics, including recent blockbusters, via 30 Internet partners, including major streaming sites GyaO and Hikari TV.

This month, NHK1S Internet streaming site NHK Online will launch a special unlimited viewing pack that allows subscribers to enjoy new content three months ahead of its regular release. Another new service will give smartphone and tablet users access to all NHK Online content.

NHK Online's viewer-generated revenue grew 180% in 2011. …

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