Duo to merge April 2 into holding co.

Platform operator Sky Perfect Communications and satellite operator JSAT, which plan to merge into a holding company on April 2, announced their first five-year business plan on Friday.

Goal of the plan is to double total subscriber numbers, from the current 4.2 million to 8 million, principally by offering new HD and mobile services,  as Japanese TV completes the switchover to full digital. By 2011, the new merged company, called Sky Perfect JSAT, expects to raise operating revenue to Y240 billion $2 billion and profit to $317 million .

Sky Perfect JSAT plans to launch a new HD service, with about 10 channels, in the summer of 2008 as part of its core Sky Perfectv! platform service. Subs will eventually have access to 30 HD channels through a dedicated HD pack.

In fiscal 2007, the company will also launch three new HD channels on its e2 multi-channel service for owners of digital sets, in addition to the two currently in operation.

 To subscribers of its Sky Perfectv! Hikari service, which broadcasts direct to home via optical fiber cable, the company plans to offer its Sky Perfectv! HD  channels, while expanding its service area to reach 10 million households, mainly in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya areas.

Finally, the company  plans to expand services to Internet and mobile device users, starting with the launch of an Internet broadcasting service in fiscal 2007, in cooperation with NTT’s B Flets, a leading Internet provider.

Sky Perfect operates the largest platform service in Japan, while JSAT operates a total of 10 satellites for broadcasting and telecommunications users, with Sky Perfect a prime customer. The two companies announced their merger in October of 2006.  Sky Perfect has been struggling to raise sub numbers beyond the current 4.2 million, while JSAT took a big profit hit after a satellite failure last summer.

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