$7.99 bil collected -- $180 mil more than previous year

Pubcaster NHK, which has been a lifeline for Japanese auds after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster hit the country in March, set an all-time record for receiving fee revenue in the 2010 fiscal year, its board of governors announced on Tuesday.

The $7.99 billion collected was $180 million more than the previous year.

With this windfall, NHK now expects to be $37 million to $49 million in the black, compared with an earlier projection of a $75 million deficit.

The previous record, $7.92 billion, was set in 2003 before a series of internal scandals at NHK prompted as many as one million households to stop paying the receiving fees that support the pubcaster.

Board of governors chairman Fumio Sudo attributed the results to a cost-cutting drive and a rush by viewers to subscribe to NHK’s digital satellite service before the skedded end of analog broadcasts in July.

This fiscal year NHK had planned to cut the receiving fees by 10%, Sudo said, but the March disaster both cut fee collection and increased expenses required to report the events. Sudo said NHK would have to carefully consider how to set the fee going forward.

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