MTV tunes up Japan

Musicvideo net returns with local focus

TOKYO — The Japanese will see if they want their MTV — again.

After failing once in Japan, MTV said on Tuesday that it is planning a return to the world’s second largest media market with a new set of partners and programming plans. The channel will target the 16- to 34-year-old audience.

MTV Japan will take to the air in January as a 24-hour Japanese-language service on cable and satellite television. The channel will replace local music web Vibe, which has 2.8 million viewers.

Japan is already flooded with music channels, but MTV feels that its new partners, heavy reliance on local music content and expertise in the international music marketplace will help it succeed this time around, even though the competition has gotten stiffer.

Vibe president Ted Karasawa has been appointed chairman of MTV Japan and will hold the post of acting president.

Philippines pact

Meanwhile, in another development, MTV is partnering with NBC in the Philippines to bring the round-the-clock music service to terrestrial television. The music web is already available on cable in the Philippines.

At present MTV can be seen in 340 million households in 139 countries. MTV parent company Viacom brought kids channel Nickelodeon to Japan in November 1998 via a direct-to-home satcaster.