• Jiji


Japanese public broadcaster NHK has announced a plan to set a cap of ¥20 billion for its internet-related business costs per year from fiscal 2021, dropping its earlier proposal to abolish the upper limit on such expenses.

NHK, whose official name is Japan Broadcasting Corp., on Tuesday filed for communications ministry approval for the revised plan, announced the same day.

In September, NHK revealed a plan to scrap the current system that sets the upper limit for costs on its internet businesses, including the NHK Plus service of simultaneous television broadcasts on the internet, at 2.5 percent of its viewing fee revenue. But a number of public comments called for a cap to be imposed, prompting the broadcaster to come up with the revised plan.

“It’s more reasonable to set a cap in terms of amount, not a percentage of the viewing fee revenue,” which tends to fluctuate, Shunzo Morishita, chairman of NHK’s Board of Governors, told reporters. The board approved the change in the plans.

Under NHK’s fiscal 2020 budget, the amount of funds for its internet businesses, excluding spending related to the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics next year, has been set at ¥17 billion, or 2.4 percent of its estimated viewing fee revenue worth about ¥700 billion for the year through next March.

If the upper limit is set at ¥20 billion, the amount would be equivalent to some 3 percent of the estimated annual viewing fee revenue of ¥670 billion for fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2023, possibly leading commercial broadcasters to criticize the public broadcaster for pressuring their businesses.

Last year, NHK asked for communications ministry approval for a plan to expand its online business expenses to up to 3.8 percent of the viewing fee revenue. After opposition from commercial broadcasters, however, NHK reversed course and agreed to spend up to 2.5 percent of the fee revenue, excluding for the Tokyo Games.

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