BBC yanked from Japan

MediArk to cease broadcasting net

BBC Japan will be pulled from the country’s screens at the end of April after just 15 months because of financial problems at distrib Japan MediArk (JMC).

BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, said the decision had been made without any consultation and the situation was beyond its control.

“We are looking to replace the channel in the market as soon as possible and hope to announce shortly how BBC Japan’s loyal customers will be able to receive the channel in the future,” said Darren Childs, BBC Worldwide’s managing director of global channels.

JMC began life in 2000 as a data broadcasting startup and had no TV broadcasting experience when it landed the BBC Japan contract. It did sport impressive corporate backing from the likes of Dentsu, Kyodo, Jiji and NTT DoCoMo.

BBC Japan costs subscribers ¥735 ($6) a month. BBC World, which is carried as part of SkyPerfecTV’s main service, will continue to broadcast in Japan.

(Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.)