Sat ops merge in Japan

PerfecTV and JSkyB wed

TOKYO — Japanese satellite platform operators PerfecTV and JSkyB officially merged on Friday to create the largest direct satellite broadcasting service in the country.

The new company, called Sky PerfecTV, offers 171 channels and it aims to enlist 2 million subscribers by fiscal year 2000, company officials said.

“Sky PerfecTV offers the most channels, the highest-quality programming and the most international programming of any service in Japan,” said Sky PerfecTV president Koya Mita.

The new satellite venture also puts Rupert Murdoch in the Japanese market as a broadcaster. His News Corp. owns an 11.375% stake in the new firm. The firm’s launch comes about a decade after Murdoch started his BSkyB service.

The other major investors in Sky PerfecTV, which has capital of 40 billion yen ($305 million), are trading house Itochu Corp., Sony Corp., Softbank Corp. and Fuji Television Network (Fuji TV).

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