Yahoo! picks pix in Japan

TV Bank offers movie, video clips online

TOKYO — Yahoo! Japan and its parent company Softbank on Monday launched TV Bank, a new online movie and video clip service, on the Yahoo Japan Web site.

TV Bank offers recent and classic Japanese and foreign films divided into three levels: free, Yahoo Premium and BB members ($2.47 per month) and pay-per-view ($3.19 for seven days).  

Softbank holds a 60% share in TV Bank, Yahoo Japan the remaining 40%.

In addition to films, TV Bank supplies a wide range of content in its library of 100,00 items, including movie news, TV dramas, comedies, animation, sports and games. It has also expanded its free offerings, including Korean TV dramas, which are a potent lure to Japanese viewers.

Speaking to the press on Monday, Softbank prexy-CEO Masayoshi Son said the target for the site is 40 million unique users per month, or about the same number as currently visit the entire Yahoo site.

Launched in 1981, Softbank operates broadband telecommunications and Internet-related businesses, including Yahoo Japan. In May 2004 it acquired Japan Telecom with the aim of moving into the mobile phone market.

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