Distrib, four others try to offset lagging box office

TOKYO — In order to combat flagging box office, distrib Toho, ad shop Dentsu and the NTV, TBS and Fuji TV networks are joining in the launch of a new service that will begin to stream recent Japanese pics to Web users by next spring.

Called My Theater D.D., the service will begin with $1.03 million in startup capital, with each partner kicking in 20%. It will deliver its pics via 30 Web partners, including local majors GyaO and Hikari TV, with the date of a pic’s first broadcast coinciding with its DVD release.

Users will pay by credit card for several days of access to a film via smartphones and other devices.

The aim of the partnership is to revive flagging viewership of local pics, as auds increasingly turn away from theaters, TV and DVDs.

Toho, by far the biggest distributor of Japanese pics, has reported that theatrical B.O. for its lineup is down nearly 20% in 2011 compared with the previous year.

Dentsu is the Godzilla of Japanese ad shops, while Fuji TV, NTV and TBS are major pic producers as well as TV networks.

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