Japanese cable TV penetration rockets

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TOKYO -- The number of households with cable television in Japan increased by 30% in the fiscal year ending March 31, 1998 to hit a total of 6.71 million households, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications announced. As of the end of March, 14.8% of Japan's 45 million households have cable TV. Revenue for the cable industry rose by 16.6% for the fiscal year to hit $1.4 billion.

The ministry said stepped-up marketing campaigns by cable companies and greater channel options are behind the increase. It's the second straight year that the number of households with cable TV has increased by more than 30%.

More than 19 million households in Japan receive some sort of multichannel programming beyond network fare. National broadcaster NHK's satellite service has the largest number of multichannel subscribers, at about 12 million, with more than 1 million people signed up for direct-to-home satellite platforms Sky PerfecTV and DirecTV Japan.

The main cable TV services in Japan are Titus Communications and Jupiter Communications, while Tokyu Cable is strong in the TokyoYokohama corridor. Jupiter is a joint venture with U.S. cable operator TCI and trading house Sumitomo Corp. as the main shareholders. Titus is a joint venture with Toshiba Corp., Time Warner, Itochu Corp. and Turner International Japan.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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