Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan
Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura
Chapter 7: A Perspective on Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Japan
7. A perspective on digital terrestrial broadcasting in Japan Kiyoshi Nakamura and Nobuyuki Tajiri INTRODUCTION Digital technologies have greatly changed the environment surrounding the broadcasting industry, resulting in drastic changes to the traditional economics of broadcasting. Digital technological innovation supported by the Morse code-like idea of 0s and 1s and advanced multiplexing technology are blurring the once distinct boundaries between information communication/ telecommunications and broadcasting causing these markets to converge. Negroponte (1995) predicted that the ‘telephone will become wireless, and the TV become wired’. Innovations in digital technology, however, are progressing at an even greater speed than predicted by this ‘Negroponte switch’ hypothesis. Now, television can be viewed from the mobile phone, and phone calls can be made through one’s cable television connection, increasing the interdependency of ﬁxed (wired) and mobile (wireless) technologies all the more. Moreover the creation of new industries can be expected from such technological convergence. In Japan there has existed a dual system of commercial broadcasting, which is dependent on advertising income, and public service broadcasting, which is dependent on licence fees. However, new changes to the broadcasting landscape such as digitalisation, the growth of new subscription broadcast business models, and the birth of Internet broadcasting as well as mobile broadcasting or ‘podcasting’ have begun to shake the foundations of this ‘cosy duopoly’. From an industrial organisation perspective, it can be said that digital technology is simultaneously giving rise to changes in the broadcasting industry’s market structure and market conduct. Horizontal and vertical integration between broadcasters...
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