TV Online?

Written by Brett Thomas

December 19, 2005 | 19:42

Tags: #internet #online #tv

Companies: #japan #softbank #yahoo

Not News:
You can get TV shows online.

News Flash:
You can do it without Bit-torrent in Japan.

Yahoo Japan and media company Softbank cemented a deal on Monday afternoon to join together and launch a daughter corporation that will send full TV over the internet in Japan. Viewers will have on-demand services for some of their favorite shows, movies, and sporting events through a new portal known as Yahoo!Doga (doga means "moving picture" in Japanese).

Due to the increasingly prolific super-speed internet access available in the island nation, it is expected that this service will function quite well. "Japan has the infrastructure for this kind of service, so it would be a shame to not use it," Softbank's CEO Masayoshi Son said.

According to Yahoo! News (not biased, of course):

TV Asahi Corp. has signed on as a content partner. Softbank is in discussions with other television networks, including Fuji Television Network Inc.

Softbank needs to sign on the television networks because they control much of both the television and movie businesses in Japan, unlike in the United States, where Hollywood studios control the lion's share of desirable content.

Some of the content would be sponsored by advertisers, while some would be provided on a pay-per-view basis.

The service is in trials now, and is set to go live in March of 2006.

Needless to say, this is some pretty exciting stuff. Though in the US there has been some very limited on-demand viewing in the form of some of the most expensive movie channels, the idea of truly on-demand TV through the internet has been a bit of a pipe dream. However, once it shows off its practical side in Japan, it probably won't take long to hit the States and Europe. (It's already catching on in the UK too in limited quantities. I was watching the World Club Football Final live via BBC's website on Sunday - Ed.)

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