The first half of 2018 saw various panels debating over the future of broadcasting.First, the Regulatory Reform Promotion of the Cabinet Office, which had started deliberating the effective use of spectrum for broadcasting in autumn 2017, continuously discussed this issue. Then, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ study group on problems surrounding broadcasting also began a debate in late July, 2018. Then, on March 15, it was reported that the Abe administration was drafting proposals for broadcasting system reform (hereinafter “the government proposals”). The government intention was revealed to virtually demolish the broadcasting institution and to place commercial broadcasters on equal footing with video streaming and other online media services, which caused “turmoil” as the move provoked strong resentment from Tokyo-based commercial flagship stations and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association, and even newspapers and magazines covered the story intensively. After these news reports on the government proposals, the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council—Prime Minister’s advisory body—announced the third report containing wider issues such as content strategies and support for broadcasters, but it did not include many of the issues that had been reported as government proposals.A series of debates at the Promotion Council and receding “turmoil” seem to have soothed the broadcasters for some extent. However, since the momentum of media diversification and viewers/users segmentation looks unstoppable, broadcasters shall be soon put to the test in the context of how far they can shape the future of broadcasting responding to the needs of society.This article first reviews the debates over the future of broadcasting unfolded during the six months from February to July 2018 as well as the “turmoil” in chronological order, based on which the author presents the six key words that the thinks are important and discusses relevant issues including how each key terms are related to each other.
The Nationwide Diary-Method Survey on Cross-Platform Reach aims to obtain basic data for the examination of media usage and content developments by periodically conducting a public opinion survey to study “reach” (percentage of people who were exposed to a given content/service at least once during a week) of contents and services provided by broadcasters such as TV and radio broadcasts, data broadcasts, recorded videos, websites, online videos, and SNS. This article chronologically analyzes the trends since 2016 based on the data from previous three surveys.The reach of contents and services provided by broadcasters are classified into three categories: “real-time reach” (real-time viewing of broadcast programs), “time-shifted reach” (time-shifted viewing of broadcast programs), and “internet reach” (contact with digital contents provided by broadcasters). While “real-time reach” decreased from 92.2% in 2016 to 90.2%, “time-shifted reach” increased from 53.5% in 2016 to 57.5% and “internet reach” has increased from 15.0% in 2016 to 17.2%. Although there was no change in “total reach” (engaging in any of the above three), which was 92.9%, when combining these three reach patterns, some change was observed: while “only real-time” decreased from 2016 (37.6% to 33.2%), “real-time, time-shifted, and internet” (engaging in all three manners) increased from 2016 (11.8% to 14.6%). These results indicate that people’s contact with broadcasters contents and services is shifting from conventional “only real-time” to various combinations of “real-time,” “time-shifted,” and “internet” and that those who contact with them in all three manners are gradually increasing.
The Heavy Rain Event of July 2018 also known as the Torrential Rain in Western Japan turned out to be the worst rainfall disaster in the Heisei era. Even though the Japan Metrological Agency (JMA) issued a heavy rain emergency warning to 11 prefectures to urge the residents to be on maximum alert, the death toll rose to more than 200 as flood and sediment disasters occurred simultaneously in a broad range from Kyushu to Tokai. The author assumes that how broadcasting media reacted to this tremendous, wide-area disaster must be thoroughly examined and analyzed, which is also vital to developing countermeasures against mega natural disasters predicted in the near future such as the “Nankai Trough Earthquakes” (Nankai megathrust earthquakes). To provide a foothold in the examination, this paper reviews how NHK and commercial flagship stations based in Tokyo actually reported the Heavy Rain Event of July 2018, by chronologically presenting their news coverage before and after the torrential rain, to identify the issues to be discussed in the future.
This paper reports the current status of young children’s viewing of TV in real time and of recorded programs and DVDs based on the “Rating Survey on Young Children's TV Viewing” held in June 2018. The survey was conducted over a week, from June 4 (Monday) to June 10 (Sunday), aiming at 1,000 young children aged two through six living within 30km radius of Tokyo.TV viewing time per day for young children was 1 hour and 39 minutes (weekly average). The figure had been hovering at a little over 2 hours since 2007, and it did not reach 2 hours in 2012 for the first time and been on a gradual decline. Their time spent on viewing recorded programs/DVDs was 57 minutes per day (weekly average). The figure kept increasing from 2011 to 2013, and since then it has been remained at the same level, but the gap between TV viewing time and recorded program/DVD viewing time are narrowing.Supplementary questions find an increase in young children’s viewing of online videos while their viewing of recorded programs/DVDs stays at the same level. Regarding time spent on viewing online videos, those who “never or rarely watch” decreased from the 2016 level while long viewing (more than one hour) increased.Most watched program during the survey period included NHK ETV’s programs for young children such as “With Mother” and “Kid's Discovery” as well as commercial broadcasters' animation programs such as “DORAEMON” and “Shin chan.”
ATSC 3.0 has been expected widely in the US terrestrial TV industry as one of a profitable and rewarding strategy for the future. In this article, I examined how public broadcasting stations are trying to introduce ATSC 3.0 and what their strategy is by interviewing officials in July 2018.Eric Wolf, vice president of PBS, said that it should be the mission of public broadcasting to deliver interactive educational content optimized for individuals to socially vulnerable people who can’t pay for the broadband service. Lonna Thompson, vice president of APTS (America’s Public Television Stations) said that to deliver emergency reports and local news with our own infrastructure whenever viewers need it anytime and anywhere is our mission.PHOENIX MODEL MARKET, the first ATSC 3.0 transmission experiment in the U.S launched in April 2018. Mare Mazur, general manager of ARIZONA PBS which is taking part in the project, said that the most important contents are local news and educational contents and they are developing interactive educational contents with ARIZONA State University and PBS.It is noteworthy that the introduction of ATSC 3.0 is to explore the construction of a new television ecosystem that local public broadcasters and commercial broadcasters would make rebuilt their respective strengths and contribute to the local community.
NHK has been conducting the “Trial Project on Academic Use of the NHK Archives” since 2010 following its official call for participating universities. This article describes how the Project works and been developed since its launch, and reports on the presentations held at the NHK Museum of Broadcasting on July 14, 2018. The paper also overviews the current status of research on TV programs archives mainly from the perspectives of researchers. The archives research has been advancing, albeit gradually, and presenting inspiring elements.