Nippon, Warner, Toshiba club together in movie, TV venture

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TOKYO -- Nippon Television Network Corp., Warner Bros. and Toshiba Corp. announced July 14 they are to form a joint venture, Towani Corp., to produce and distribute movies and TV programs for the Japanese and world markets.

Nippon Television and Warner Bros. will both take 33.3% stakes in the company; Toshiba and Time Warner Entertainment Japan will take stakes of 23.3% and 10%, respectively.

With entertainment as its watchword, Towani will develop and produce quality movies aimed not only at the Japanese market but also at other countries around the world. In its role as producer, Towani plans to produce between one and two movies each year from 2000 onwards. It will announce the outline of its first movie program in about six months. The company may also undertake production of TV programming.

With its extensive support from three major companies in the broadcasting, entertainment and electronics industries, Towani promises to develop and supply high-quality content to the increasingly boundaryless and content-hungry world market. Demand for entertainment content is booming with the rise of multi-channel broadcasting and the continued progress of digitization.

In Japan, the coming "Big Bang" in broadcasting will promote diversification into such technologies as broad and narrow band satellite digital broadcasting and terrestrial digital broadcasting, adding to the increasing impact of broadcast satellite broadcasting, communication satellite broadcasting and cable television.

This fast-evolving environment brought Nippon Television Network, Warner Bros. and Toshiba together in May 1997 to discuss new business in Japan and the worldwide entertainment market. The companies concluded that further development of the global entertainment industry in the 21st century will require high-quality movie and TV programming content and enhanced marketing and promotion of content with a global appeal to overseas markets.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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