The paper explores how people in their 20s today feel about television—the presence of and the closeness to or distance from it—based on multiple public opinion surveys on media usage. Approximately 30% of those in their 20s do not watch television in real time, not even once a week. Moreover, even among those who do watch television in real time, the proportions of those watching television every day and those spending a long time watching television are declining. Meanwhile, time-shifting viewers, who watch recorded TV content, and those who view content or use services provided by broadcasters on the internet are not increasing, which indicates people in their 20s are in effect moving away from TV content. During evening and night time slots, while real-time TV viewers are decreasing, those in their 20s actively engage in media activities such as social media, videos, and games on their smartphones. A questionnaire aimed at people in their 20s who watch TV content on the internet shows that they use internet video streaming when they “missed a TV program that they had wanted to watch,” “want to watch a TV program after its broadcast,” and “want to watch content not aired on TV.
Research on TV Producers NEO ＜Attachment to the Locality＞ is a series portraying “earthly stars” whose luster does not fade even now at the production sites of local broadcasters. The third installment of the series features Takao Ito, aged 69, who was born to a farming family in Akita Prefecture in 1950. He joined NHK in 1970, and, after working at Production Engineering Department in Tokyo and Akita Station back home, was assigned to the visual production division (former filming division) of the Production Engineering Department in Tokyo in 1985. Ito’s appointment attracted attention as he was the first NHK engineer to join the former filming division that had a long tradition of film shooting, where Ito made a series of large-scale programs involving overseas location shooting such as NHK Special: shakai shugi no 20 seiki [The 20th century of socialism] (1990) and Berurin bijutsukan [Berlin State Museums] (1991). However, he made an about-turn; in 1991 Ito moved to Sendai Station at his own wish and started dedicating to shooting and producing programs that depict people deeply rooted in the soil of Tohoku (Northeast Japan) in farming, mountain, and fishing villages. Consequently, a great number of programs were made during his 28 years in Tohoku including documentaries for NHK Special series: Masayo Baachan-no tenchi: hayachine no fumoto ni ikite [Gramma Masayo’s universe: living at the foot of Mt. Hayachine] (1991), Yuki no bohyo: Okuaizu sousou-no fukei [Tombstones in the snow: in funeral scenery in Okuaizu] (1993), Igune: Yashikirin ga hagukumu denen no shiki [Igune: four seasons of the countryside fostered by homestead woods] (2002), Isana ga mata fuku hi: Kaze yoseru shuuraku ni ikiru [The day southeast wind blows again: living in a windy district] (2012, The Age of Regionalism Video Festival Grand-Prix winner). Among them, Isana stories became a series depicting people’s lives in Sendai City’s Arahama district—a traditional fishing and farming community, spanning over an eight episodes covering before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake until last year, which was highly acclaimed as a video chronicle documenting the residents’ struggle to live each day to the fullest after the tsunami disaster. Why has Ito been attached to Tohoku—his home region—so much and trying to document the area? The first installment explores how he reached such a frame of mind by analyzing his programs and based on interviews with him as well as his professional acquaintances. *Takao Ito currently works as a senior staff member at Sendai Branch of NHK Technologies, Inc.
The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute has been conducting research for the realization of the “automated audio description” service that automatically provides auxiliary voice explanations of television content for people with visual impairment, in collaboration with the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) and other organizations. Broadcasts with commentaries for visually impaired audience are much less disseminated than subtitled broadcasts are. On top of this, the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have triggered more attention on services for people with impairments. As part of efforts to find out what is needed for the smooth utilization of broadcasting services by people with visual impairment and for the enhancement of accessible broadcasts, the authors conducted a web questionnaire surveying visually impaired audience on how they perceived an experimental program—a recorded episode of Kyou no Ryouri Biginaazu (Today’s Menu for Beginners) with voice explanations using “automated audio description.” The results of the survey show that different auxiliary explanations and services are being required, depending on the degree of impairment. Based on the analysis of the web survey results, the paper discusses the current status and the future of the audio description and other commentary services.
The Public Broadcasters International (PBI) conference was held in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, from 9th to 11th September, 2019. PBI was established in 1991 with the aim of providing an opportunity where executives of public service broadcasters from around the world gather together to share challenges faced with public broadcasting and methods to solve them. The conference has been annually held since then. The PBI 2019 took place under the theme of “creating value for society in a rapidly changing world.” With the advancement of digitalization, European countries see more and more viewers shifting from services provide by public service broadcasters to pay video streaming services, represented by NETFLIX, as well as information sharing and news distribution services on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube. At the conference, public service broadcasters reported various types of trial-and-error efforts, in response to this trend, for creating values, winning viewers’ confidence, and reach more people. The paper reports insights gained from the conference, focusing on the current circumstances surrounding public service broadcasters’ content development and journalism as well as challenges facing them.
The NHK Japanese Time Use Survey has been conducted every five years since 1960 with the purpose of grasping daily activities of the Japanese from a viewpoint of the time spent on these activities. The regular NHK Japanese Time Use Survey employs a method where possible everyday activities are classified into 28 activity categories, which are shown on a time-use diary sheet, and respondents are asked to draw a line through relevant boxes to indicate the activity they were engaged in for each 15-minute slot. Preceding studies, however, have pointed out the difficulty in remembering and/or recording fragmented activities as one of the challenges facing the survey. In response to this, we conducted an agile survey in 2018—the 2018 Time Use Survey on Media Use—, whose focus was to capture fragmented media activities, and experimentally introduced a new method that asks respondents to enter an “x” mark, instead of a conventional line, for each under-ten-minute, short-time activity.
We compared “doers’ ratios” (defined as the percentage of total respondents who engaged in a given activity during a given day) by with or without “x.” It is found people spent a short amount of time (under ten minutes) on certain media activities, notably on “smartphone/mobile phone,” as well as on “personal chores” and “meals” among basic daily activity categories, and“x” marks were entered for them. Given that the regular NHK Japanese Time Use Survey needs to ensure the time-series comparability of the survey data and that its activity categories include many basic daily activities whose doers’ ratios showed little difference when compared by with or without “x;” currently we have no plans to introduce “x” marks in the regular survey series in the future, but using “x” marks may serve its purpose in the agile survey dedicated to capturing fragmented media activities such as smartphones.
The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute (NHK BCRI) has been making its research results available widely to the public through publications such as The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research and on its official website but has not released raw data from public opinion surveys for a long time because of the protection of personal information and other reasons. While overseas countries launched a number of data archives in the 1960s, to promote data storage and publication, Japan lagged behind in establishing archives and had to wait until 1998 when the University of Tokyo set up the Social Science Japan Data Archive (SSJ Data Archive) to make raw data available to the public. Consequently, the NHK BCRI started to receive requests from academic researchers for the provision of raw data, which made the Institute commence discussion on it. After determining the conditions on academic archives that could receive data as well as on surveys whose data would be released, the Institute decided to provide some of the raw data to the SSJ Data Archive in stages. Since then, for the past decade, NHK BCRI has provided raw data from twenty surveys including the Survey on Japanese Value Orientations, receiving 346 requests for data use, and 34 research papers with secondary data analyses have been published. This paper reports the background to and the process of the decision making of the Institute as well as the current status of its raw data provision.