NHK said Wednesday that it will simulcast its television programs online for 17 hours a day starting in March before rolling out 18-hours-per-day coverage in April.

NHK had hoped to launch around-the-clock simulcasts in April, but it shortened the time to 18 hours after the communications ministry asked the broadcaster to cut its online operations budget.

The new online services “will start on a limited scale, but we’ll fully play our role as a public media organization,” President Ryoichi Ueda told a news conference.

NHK aims to shift to around-the-clock services in the future after examining costs and other factors.

NHK will simulcast online from 7 a.m. in March and 6 a.m. in April.

People will be able to view programs aired on the broadcaster’s general and educational terrestrial channels on smartphones and other devices. They will also be able to watch programs broadcast within the past seven days.

Users wishing to take advantage of simulcasting services will be required to sign up on NHK’s website or a smartphone app. One ID can be shared by up to five people.

NHK estimates that revenue from subscription fees for the year from April will fall 0.8 percent from the previous year to ¥697.4 billion, the first decline in seven years, reflecting a fee cut slated for October.

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