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NHK may offer separate contracts for streaming broadcast service

NHK Broadcasting Center (Mainichi)

Households may be able to enter into a separate contract with NHK in the event Japan's public broadcaster begins streaming programming online in 2019, according to the NHK committee considering a new reception fee system.

The new payment system was outlined in an interim policy proposal released by the committee on June 26. Under the plan, the fee for the simultaneous online broadcast would be contracted separately and cover an entire household for the same price as terrestrial broadcasts -- 2,520 yen per two months if paid via bank transfer.

Those already paying for terrestrial broadcasts would not be charged for the streaming service online. Only people who exclusively watch programs via online streaming or an app for the service would be subject to the new fees. The current payment system for viewing NHK's terrestrial and satellite broadcasts would remain unchanged.

A senior official at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications expressed that the reception fee for streaming should cost less than that for terrestrial broadcasts. While NHK did consider making the streaming fee cheaper, in the end there was too much concern that it would shift viewership too sharply from television to internet broadcasts.

The proposal will be submitted to NHK's Board of Governors on June 27, and a formal decision is expected to be made at the end of July.

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