Japanese pubcaster hopes to bolster export biz

TOKYO — Pubcaster NHK production arm NHK Enterprises (NEP) will merge with Media Intl. Corp. (MICO) on April 1, according to Japanese press reports. MICO shareholders have already signed off on the deal, which has yet to be formally announced.

Launched in 1990, MICO sells NHK programming to the world market. It is a private company whose 15 corporate investors are topped by the Itochu, Marubeni and Sumitomo trading companies. It also buys shows for broadcast on NHK, such as Korean TV dramas and foreign sports programming.

In recent years, however, sales have softened and MICO has struggled to remain viable. By moving under the NHK corporate umbrella, MICO hopes to improve its NHK program export biz, which accounts for 70% of its revenues, with stronger NHK backing.

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