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Let's discuss NHK's new web service

This week’s featured article

JIJI, Staff Report

NHK started on Sunday simultaneous broadcasting of its television programs on the internet.

The simulcast service, dubbed “NHK plus,” will be offered 17 hours a day from 7 a.m. to midnight in March, before expanding to 18 hours a day from 6 a.m. to midnight in April.

NHK will study whether to provide the service around the clock while examining factors including costs and popularity.

Subscribers to NHK’s TV service can register for the simulcast service through the NHK Plus website or the related smartphone app without any additional fees. When NHK Plus is running, most of the TV programs on NHK’s general and educational channels will be viewable on the internet in real time.

NHK plans to make programs covering the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer, as well as special programs related to natural disasters and other emergencies, available on the simulcast service even for those who do not subscribe.

The public broadcaster expects up to 3.5 million households to use the simultaneous broadcasting service in fiscal 2020, which starts in April.

Five Tokyo-based commercial TV networks jointly conducted a test for a similar simulcast service in January. Given challenges including profitability, however, none has decided to officially launch the service.

Under a plan NHK submitted to the communications ministry in October, the cost of running its internet-related businesses, including the simulcast service, will grow to as much as 3.8 percent of its subscription revenues in fiscal 2020.

But the ministry instructed NHK to review the plan, in light of the concerns raised by the commercial broadcasters.

Based on this, NHK decided to keep the ratio of its internet-related expenses, excluding for the Olympics and Paralympics, at the fiscal 2019 level of 2.5 percent of subscription revenues or below.

The developments forced NHK to give up its plan to start an around-the-clock simulcast service in April.

Article first published in The Japan Times on March 1

Warm up

One-minute chat about television.

Game

Collect words related to broadcasting, e.g., media, internet, news, streaming, etc.

New words

1) dub: give something an unofficial nickname, e.g., “The disease was dubbed ‘new swine flu’ by local doctors.”

2) subscription: an arrangement to receive something by paying in advance, e.g., “I renewed my newspaper subscription to stay informed about what’s happening in Japan.”

3) around the clock/round the clock: all day and all night, e.g., “The guards kept watch of the prisoner around the clock.”

Guess the headline

NHK kicks off i_ _ _ _ _ _ _-based si_ _ _ _ _ _ _ service

Questions

1) What new service is NHK is starting?

2) How much will the new service cost NHK?

3) What made NHK reconsider the April start of a round-the-clock simulcast?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Will you use NHK’s new service?

2) What kind of shows would you watch?

Reference

テレビ離れが指摘されるようになって久しい中、NHKがインターネット配信に踏み切ることになりました。これによる新しい視聴者の獲得や新たな放送の切り口が得られる一方で、他社のネット配信サービスとの競争や制作コストを考えると、必ずしもNHKにとってプラスのことばかりであるとは限りません。テレビに私たちは何を望むのか、朝英語の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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