Almost semiannually since 2017, the author has been presenting the summarized latest trends in broadcasting centering on new services and government policies and pointing out issues at hand. This fourth article of the series reports the developments from February through July 2019. The keywords succinctly depicting the trend of terrestrial broadcasters over this time period would be “utilization of viewers log data” for commercial broadcasters and “simultaneous online delivery of broadcast content” for NHK. As we are about to enter an age of “structural change of the media” where every media service is striving to utilize “internet technology” broadcasters are seeking solutions in earnest for implementing optimum models for the new era that would replace the conventional ones: a ratings-oriented, advertising-based business model for commercial broadcasters and an operational model based on TV viewing on TV sets for NHK. This paper develops around four key issues. First, the author presents her latest knowledge as a panoramic view on the structural change surrounding television and broadcasting. Secondly, the paper considers the business model that terrestrial commercial broadcasters are introducing. Thirdly, the legal system is examined, in which the most significant topic has been the revision to the Broadcast Act that will remove a ban on NHK’s simultaneous online delivery of broadcast content. Finally, the author discusses the future raison d'etre of terrestrial broadcasters. The author argues that terrestrial broadcasters have been serving as “all-around” media players, but now need to turn themselves into “core-mission-based” as a material for future discussion on what are core missions of terrestrial broadcasters in present and future society.
The Nationwide Diary-Method Survey on Cross-Platform Reach obtains basic data for the examination of media usage and content developments by periodically conducting a public opinion survey on “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 social media. This article chronologically analyzes the trends over the past five years since 2014, centering on the changes in reach. The reach of contents and services provided by broadcasters are classified into three categories: “real-time reach” (real-time contact with broadcast programs), “time-shifted reach” (time-shifted contact with broadcast programs), and “internet reach” (contact with digital contents provided by broadcasters). Compared to five years ago, “real-time reach” decreased from 89.1% to 93.2% while “internet reach” increased from 24.0% to 31.6%. “Time-shifted reach” was 50.1%, staying at the same level as five years ago. As a result, “total reach” (engaging in any of the above three) decreased from 94.8% five years ago to 92.3%. In the combination of these three reach patterns, conventional methods of contact such as “only real-time” (37.3% to 32.2%) and “only real-time and time-shifted” (32.9% to 27.2%) decreased compared to five years ago, but “real-time, time-shifted, and internet” (engaging in all three manners) increased (16.6% to 21.1%). Notably, among those in their 20s, who have less real-time contact, “all except for real-time” increased (4% to 12%), with “total reach” remaining at the same level as five years ago. These results show that the exposure to contents and services provided by broadcasters are gradually shifting from conventional “only real-time“ to various combinations of contact patterns.
NHK Educational TV (ETV) celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019. Its predecessor NHK’s Tokyo Educational Television was launched on January 10th, 1959 as Japan’s first TV broadcasting service dedicated to educational content. Even now, ETV remains as Japan’s only educational broadcasting service, with programming ratios of “educational content accounts for more than 75% and cultural content more than 15%.” Looking back at the history of NHK Educational Television, we can see that the service’s initial focus was telecourses such as school broadcast programs and language programs. However, in the 1980s, reflecting the aging of population, the public became more interested in lifelong learning, which contributed to raise the number of lifelong learning programs for adults and elderly people. In the 1990s, “block programming” was introduced by setting larger time frames for different target audiences, which was accompanied with the increase of programs for children. Then, the 2000s saw more diversified content for diversified viewers such as hobby and lifestyle, cultural, and welfare programs, and the internet use was actively encouraged to support these programs. The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute categorized programs into 16 groups for this three-part series themed “Sixty Years of Educational Television” to study the transition of each program group. The reference materials include NHK Yearbook, “Basic Programming Plan for Domestic Broadcasting,” and “Broadcast Schedule” of each fiscal year as well as various documents made by those involved in program productions and program scheduling. This first part of the series focuses on the following four groups: NHK High School Courses, NHK University Courses, programs for teachers and parents, and language programs to look into not only changes in broadcast time slots and air times but also changes in viewers’ learning styles and program directions.
The Heavy Rain Event of July 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “the Torrential Rain in Western Japan”) turned out to be the worst rainfall disaster in the Heisei era, with rainfall reaching a record level in a wide range of areas mainly in western Japan. Prior to the first anniversary of the disaster, the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute and the NHK Matsuyama Station conducted an internet survey of 3,000 male and female residents of Ehime Prefecture in May 2019. Based on the findings from the survey and interviews, this paper discusses how best to communicate disaster information and report it on the air. To a question on what would be an evacuation cue when a heavy rain was expected, the highest percentage of the respondents, 64%, chose “disaster information” as a cue to evacuate. However, “when rainfall become heavie” and “seeing or hearing a precursor of disaster” were cited by many people in Ozu, Seiyo, and Uwajima—cities severely affected by the disaster. This suggests a residents’ attitude that they judge the situation by themselves to evacuate, not just waiting for the information offered by the local government or the media. As to an open-ended question on “how and what radio and television should broadcast in the case of a disaster,” a large number of respondents wanted to have broadcasts informing them that the situation had elevated to an emergency level such as “I want to see or hear evacuation information with an alarm sound or a full-screen warning.” Likewise, people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, wanted specific pieces of information that would encourage them to evacuate such as information on “whether people in the neighborhood are evacuating” and “what clothes I should wear and what items I should take with me.” To accommodate residents’ diverse needs for disaster information, it is becoming more necessary for broadcasting and the internet to complement each other and clarify each roles and responsibilities.
Ade Rawcliffe started her career in a lower position—a runner in a company—just like many rookies in the TV industry in the United Kingdom and later became involved in Channel 4’s Paralympics broadcasts for the London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Now she works for ITV, a major commercial station, as the person in charge of promoting diversity in the program production workforce, both on- and off-screen. At the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Ms. Rawcliffe saw firsthand broadcasters around the world working with TV presenters with an impairment. Watching this, she felt that Channel 4’s unprecedented attempt to feature disabled presenters on TV in the 2012 London Paralympics had changed the television of the world. In the U.K., the BBC, a public service broadcaster, and commercial broadcasters cooperate in monitoring the state of diversity in the TV industry. The U.K. society is composed of a wide variety of people in terms of gender, BAME, LGBT, impairments, sexual orientation, etc., which are also changing the composition of TV viewers. Ms. Rawcliffe believes that television is obliged to reflect society as it is and that participation by diverse people enriches the creativity of television. She says the members of TV industry can collaborate in diversification efforts because they are well aware of this role and responsibility of television. The significance of diversity is being shared by broadcasting and other various industries not only in the U.K but also in the rest of the world. She is determined not to make this movement vanished as a fashion of the times. Just as social participation by people with an impairment has come a long way, it takes a long time to make a change. In promoting diversity in the TV industry, Ms. Rawcliffe always comes back to the significance of diversity and explains why it is so imperative to achieve.