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Digital Broadcasting

Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan

Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura

Digital television is transforming both broadcasting and, as a result of convergence, the larger world of communications. The impending analogue switch-off will have a major impact on households all over the developed world. Digital Broadcasting considers the effects of digital television on the availability, price and nature of broadcast services in the Americas, Europe and Japan. It shows how this depends upon what platforms – cable, satellite, fixed or wireless broadband – countries have available for use and also upon government policies and regulatory interventions.
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Chapter 13: Economies of Scale, Scope and Vertical Integration in the Provision of Digital Broadcasting in Japan

Hitoshi Mitomo and Yasutaka Ueda


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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