Shochiku adds two more sat channels

TOKYO — Japanese movie company Shochiku will set up two more channels of programming for direct satellite broadcasting platforms, a company official said Tuesday.

The first new offering is the Home Drama Channel and it will be available starting in April for the PerfecTV platform. The other offering is called the Health Net Channel and will be on the PerfecTV or JSkyB platform beginning in June.

The new offerings will give Shochiku six channels of programming for satellite broadcasting. The company operates a movie channel called Cinema Japanesque, a culture channel and two pay-per-view channels on the PerfecTV platform.

The six channels make Shochiku one of the leading providers of Japanese-language programming for direct satellite platforms. Japan’s other major movie companies, Toho and Toei, have not ventured deeply into the satellite broadcasting business.

Japan’s leading financial daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Shochiku’s Japanese movie channel, originally called Satellite Theater, has recently gone from being a money-losing venture to a minimal profit-maker for the company.

PerfecTV is Japan’s only up-and-running direct-to-home satellite platform.

DirecTV Japan will begin service with 100 channels in December and JSkyB will start up next April with plans to grow into a 150-channel service.

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