55 stations recorded losses in 2008

TOKYO — Almost half of Japan’s 127 TV stations — 55 — recorded losses in the first half of fiscal 2008, according to a survey by the National Assn. of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan (NAB), the largest number in the org.’s 58-year history.

 The biggest reasons for the fall from profitability, said the NAB, are declining ad revenues and increasing expenses for the switch from analog to digital, which Japanese broadcasters must complete by July 2011. 

NAB expects these numbers to worsen for the entire fiscal year, which ends March 31.

NAB estimates the cost of digitization for commercial broadcasters will be  around 1 trillion yen ($11 billion).

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more