Disney Channel, Imagica BS among new channels

TOKYO — Six satellite pay channels, including the Disney Channel, will launch on Japan’s Sky Perfect JSAT on Thursday plus one free channel on March 17, bringing the total to 31.

The other pay TV webs are Imagica BS, which will offer U.S. and Asian pics, J Sports 3 and 4 (sports), BS Tsruri Vision (fishing) and BS Nihon Eiga (Japanese pics).

Broadcast Satellite Disney will offer free channel, Dlife, unspooling U.S. dramas and variety shows. It will serve as a test ground for up-front ad sales, which is common in the U.S. broadcasting biz but not in Japan, yet.

While Japanese terrestrial channels continue to struggle as auds depart for other media, satellite remains a growth area. Sky Perfect JSAT launched eight satellite channels in October and the subscriber total has already topped 360,000.

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