Business / Corporate

NHK to trim fees by 4.5% by fiscal 2020 to meet criteria for online simulcasting


NHK’s board on Tuesday approved the public broadcaster’s plan to cut its television viewing fees by 4.5 percent by fiscal 2020.

The plan is designed to meet a government-set criteria for starting the online simulcast of TV programs.

NHK’s Board of Governors voted to revise the broadcaster’s fiscal 2018-2020 business plan with the lower viewing fees.

The broadcaster will first effectively lower the fees by 2 percent by keeping them unchanged after the consumption tax rate is raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019. It will then carry out a 2.5 percent reduction in October 2020.

The basic terrestrial TV fee will eventually fall by ¥59 from the current ¥1,260 per month, and the fee that includes satellite services will drop by ¥102 from ¥2,230.

“This is the largest possible price cut we can promise now,” NHK President Ryoichi Ueda told a news conference Tuesday.

Susumu Ishihara, chairman of the NHK board, described the 4.5 percent cut as “drastic.”

NHK is aiming to start the online simulcast service in fiscal 2019 ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. A revision to the broadcasting law is necessary to realize the new initiative.

In exchange for backing the simulcasting plan, the communications ministry had demanded NHK lower its viewing fees and strengthen its cooperation with commercial broadcasters.