Microsoft invests in JIBtv

On Sept 1 we reported that NHK’s English-language TV channel (JIBtv) will be launched globally in February. The channel’s directors and staff took up their new position last Monday. NHK has now explained the channel’s capital structure.

News has now emerged that Microsoft, telco giant NTT, conglomerate Itochu and ten other businesses will be taking stakes in JIBtv. NHK will issue new shares through private placements with these 13 investors. Once the new shares are issued, NHK's interest in the unit will drop to around 60%, and each of the 13 companies will have stakes of less than five per cent each. The total capital in the channel will be about Yen200m (about $2m).

The plan for JIBtv is to quickly gain carriage to about 110m homes across the US, Europe, the Mid-East as well as the Asia-Pacific region. JIB is working closely with satellite services provider Globecast to effect transmission and delivery.

The channel will transmit a rolling four-hour programming block. “We’ll be broadcasting the latest news on the hour around the clock. The news slot will be 28 minutes long except during late-night hours in Japan, when it will be 10 minutes long. As well as delivering original information on Japan, we aim to establish international recognition for NHK as a source of Asian news by stationing English-speaking NHK World TV reporters at NHK bureaus around Asia and taking other steps to strengthen our Asian news-gathering network. We’ll be in an unparalleled position to communicate the vibrancy of the region,” said Mr Takashima, its DG.