Japanese satellite channels unveiled

12 webs from eight operators to bow Oct. 1

TOKYO — Eight channel operators belonging to the Association for the Promotion of Digital Broadcasting have revealed details of their new broadcast satellite channels.

On Oct. 1, 12 channels from eight operators will bow.

Entertainment specialist Wowow will launch three strands: Prime, Live and Cinema, with plans to beam 800 Hollywood and other pics annually, while movie specialist Star Channel will offer three new all-pic channels.

New entertainment strand Fox bs 238 will program “The X Factor” and other foreign shows targeted at a young adult female demo, with free viewing for the first year.

Among other BS channel operators offering freebies to lure viewers are J Sports, whose two new sports strands will be free the first week of broadcast, and toon specialist channel BS Animax, which will not charge for its first 10 days of shows.

Seven more channels will launch in March, raising the total of BS channels from 12 to 31.

Japan’s broadcast satellite channels have been in operation since December 2000, with the five channels operated by commercial networks offering free broadcasts, while the rest are pay services.

The new BS channels will use the frequencies vacated when Japan completed the switchover from analog to digital broadcasts in July.

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