Japan: NHK starts online simulcasting

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Japanese public broadcaster NHK is now supplying an online simulcast of its normal TV transmissions.

Currently the NHK Plus service is available from 7am to midnight, and will expand by an hour with a 6am start next month. The simulcasts are being made in advance of the Tokyo Olympic Games when NHK expects office workers and other users to view the games on smartphones and computers, and not in front of a TV set.

NHK says they will examine take-up while at the same examining the costs of supply the feeds. A recent study by NHK talks about the costs representing around 3.8 per cent of its licence fee income.

Subscribers to NHK’s TV service can register for the simulcast service through the NHK Plus website or the related smartphone app without any additional fees. When NHK Plus is running, most of the TV programmes on NHK’s general and educational channels will be viewable on the internet in real time.

NHK’s financial year starts in April and the broadcaster says it expects up to 3.5 million users by then, and almost certainly growing during the Olympics.


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