TOKYO — DirecTV Japan will begin full-scale service in Japan with 63 channels on Dec. 1, becoming the second direct satellite platform operating in the Japanese marketplace.
DirecTV plans to offer basic services that are between 10-20% cheaper than the only other operating satellite platform, PerfecTV. About half of its programming is also available on PerfecTV.
A 20-channel package will go for 2,000 yen ($16.12) and a 32-channel bundle is priced at $28.22.
By the spring of 1998, DirecTV plans to expand to a 90-channel platform. The company was planning to have 91 channels, but one of its program providers pulled out of the platform.
“We do not plan to set any subscription goals, because it is still too early to figure out the numbers for the DirecTV market,” said company spokesman Shigeyuki Homma.
PerfecTV, which started operations last fall, set and exceeded subscription goals for its first few months in operations. The service now has about 400,000 subscribers, but it started falling short of subscription targets about six months after it began service.
DirecTV is primarily owned by Hughes Electronics Corp., DirecTV Intl., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and video rental chain Tsutaya Culture and Convenience Club.
DirecTV Japan began testing of its satellites in September, and offered limited service broadcasting for consumers in November.
DirecTV’s launch comes as the JSkyB platform, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Sony Corp., Fuji Television Network Inc., and Softbank Corp., move toward greater cooperation on hardware with the PerfecTV platform.