Business / Corporate

Japan's NHK to drastically cut online distribution budget at government's request

JIJI

NHK plans to drastically reduce its budget for internet-based operations, including a proposed real-time distribution service for TV shows, informed sources said Friday.

The public broadcaster will accept a demand from the communications ministry to cut the budgets for its internet-based operations to prevent related operations from ballooning, the sources said.

NHK is expected to report its decision to the ministry by Dec. 8.

For fiscal 2020 starting in April, NHK plans to maintain its policy of limiting the internet budget to 2.5 percent of revenues collected from viewing fees, excluding spending for programs linked to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the sources said.

In its draft proposal for internet-based operations, released in October, NHK said it would finance its budget for international program distribution, in addition to Olympics-related operations, outside the 2.5 percent budget framework.

The ministry, however, said NHK’s internet-based budgets overall were projected to grow to 3.8 percent of the revenue from viewing fees and asked it to review the proposal.

NHK’s budget for internet-based operations came to about ¥17.5 billion in fiscal 2018.

Also at the ministry’s request, NHK is considering integrating two of its four satellite broadcasting channels, promoting the consolidation of subsidiaries, reducing its payroll and lowering viewing fees.

At the moment, NHK plans to start real-time distribution of its TV programs on the internet in March.

The ministry plans to decide on whether to approve NHK’s proposal for internet-based operations by mid-January, the sources said.