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SKY Perfect JSAT plans all-Japan channel in Indonesia

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. announced Thursday it will launch a channel next month in Indonesia that will show Japanese programs around the clock to popularize Japanese content in the growing economy and promote Japan itself.

As economies in Southeast Asia grow, there is a strong need for a wide variety of TV channels in the region, SKY Perfect JSAT President Shinji Takada said during a news conference in Tokyo.

“But . . . the presence of Japanese programs in the Asian market is small, so we were thinking to somehow come up with a way to provide a lot of great Japanese content every day to people in Asia,” Takada said.

SKY Perfect JSAT, which runs multichannel pay TV services in Japan, has worked with broadcasters, outside experts and the government to launch the new channel, named Waku Waku Japan, on Feb 22.

Programming will come in a variety of flavors, from anime, dramas and movies to sports and travel shows.

Specific programs will include “Ultraman Cosmos,” J. League soccer matches and “Amachan,” NHK’s hugely popular drama from last year.

The channel will also have original programs for locals.

All programs will be either subtitled or dubbed in Indonesian.

SKY Perfect JSAT is partnering with Indovision and Okevision, major platforms for paid programming in Indonesia, to air Waku Waku Japan.

The firm said the growth of paid channels has been notable in Indonesia and the number of households that utilize such services has been increasing rapidly. The number has reached about 2.5 million households since standing at 1.1 million in 2010.

While Indonesia’s growing economy offers a chance to make some money, “we will have to weather tough times for a while as a business,” said Akira Tanaka, senior managing executive officer at SKY Perfect JSAT, adding it will be hard to turn a profit from just paid viewing fees.

Acknowledging that it will probably take several years for the channel to turn a profit, The firm said it will work with content providers to hold live music events and sell goods featuring anime characters and products introduced on programs to cultivate revenue sources.

While this will be the first time for SKY Perfect JSAT to enter an overseas market, the firm said it also plans to launch Japanese channels in other Asian countries in the next few years, including Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.