• Kyodo

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NHK said Tuesday it plans to distribute programs of its two terrestrial television channels through the internet on a steady basis from 2019.

Such simultaneous broadcasting on the internet is currently banned under the Broadcast Law.

If NHK’s plan is realized, it will require an amendment to the law, however the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which oversees Japan’s broadcasting system, is expected to do this.

NHK, formally called Japan Broadcasting Corp., is considering expanding the planned service in stages from 2019 in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it said during a meeting of a ministry panel.

The law prohibits NHK from distributing its programs through the internet as it would benefit online viewers who do not pay TV connection fees, which are shared by every household with a television set.

NHK said it plans to charge viewers who subscribe to its programs online but will not impose blanket fees on those who have internet-capable devices such as computers and smartphones but do not watch NHK’s programs.

It also said it would not seek additional fees from households with contracts to watch the public broadcaster’s programs on television.

While it intends to distribute programs on its terrestrial television channels, including those made by its regional branches, NHK also said it would be difficult to distribute programs on its satellite TV channels, which have more sports programming, due to broadcast rights issues.

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