Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan
Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura
Chapter 13: Economies of Scale, Scope and Vertical Integration in the Provision of Digital Broadcasting in Japan
Hitoshi Mitomo and Yasutaka Ueda INTRODUCTION Recent developments in information and communication technology have enabled the emergence of a new system of broadcasting. The Japanese broadcasting industry is experiencing a transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting. In December 2003, it began in three metropolitan areas of Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. In 2005, local key stations in regional core cities including Sendai, Mito, Yokohama, Shizuoka, Toyama, Kyoto and Kobe launched digital services. By 2006, all local terrestrial broadcast stations must switch to digital in compliance with requirements from the Ministry of Public Management, Home Aﬀairs, Posts and Telecommunications (currently, Ministry of Internal Aﬀairs and Communications). Analogue broadcasting is scheduled to terminate by 2011. By that time, digital coverage is expected to be nationwide and digital receiver ownership will reach approximately 85 per cent. Insofar as broadcasting is regarded – reasonably or not – as a ‘universal service’, programming must be able to reach every individual. In addition, with broadband technologies, TV programmes can be transmitted through telecommunications networks. This suggests integration between broadcasting and telecommunication in the future. In fact, provision of TV programmes through broadband networks began in 2004. Telecom ﬁrms may be expected to supplement or even take over some traditional broadcasting functions. Implementation of digital terrestrial service was estimated to cost around 6.3 billion Japanese yen per commercial station.1 In addition to the technological advancement, the cost burden due to digitization may trigger reorganization of the broadcasting industry. For local commercial broadcasting stations especially, the amount seems to...
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