Japan’s satcasting aud nears 1 mil mark

DirecTV doubles channels to compete with SkyPerfecTV

TOKYO — Japan’s direct satellite broadcasting market has grown to almost 1 million subscribers in about a year and a half, according to figures released on Tuesday.

SkyPerfecTV is the largest of the two satellite platforms operating in Japan and as of the end of August, it had attracted 834,000 subscribers. It offers 170 channels.

DirecTV Japan was at 160,000 subscribers as of the end of August. It currently offers 88 channels and has plans to almost double the number of channels in order to become more competitive with SkyPerfecTV.

On demand

DirecTV Japan said on Tuesday that it would offer an on-demand information service for its subscribers. The interactive service would allow viewers to call up additional information that would be transmitted with the video signal.

PerfecTV was the first satellite platform in Japan and it went into full-scale operation in February of last year. DirecTV Japan started service in December of last year.

In May of 1998, SkyPerfecTV was formed through a merger of PerfecTV and JSkyB, which was backed by companies such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Sony Corp. and leading Japanese television network Fuji TV.

Further growth for the platforms depends on their ability to acclimate Japanese viewers to multichannel options and to provide enough interesting programming for the local audience.

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