• NHK unveils NHK Plus app for simultaneous broadcasting
  • Japanese broadcaster will simulcast TV programmes for 18 hours a day
  • Plans to expand to all-day service curtailed by budget cuts

Japanese public service broadcaster NHK has unveiled plans to conduct simultaneous broadcasting of its television programmes on the internet for 18 hours a day starting in April.


NHK president Ryoichi Ueda

NHK will trial the simulcast for 17 hours a day in March ahead of the official launch the following month.

The initial launch will be on a “limited scale” according to president Ryoichi Ueda, in a report from The Japan Times. However, he added, “we’ll fully play our role as a public media organisation”.

The broadcaster has reduced the length of the simulcast from a full day of broadcasting to 18 hours, after Japan’s communications ministry ordered NHK to reduce its budget for online operations. However, the company said it would look at 24-hour services in the future.

People will be able to view programmes aired on the broadcaster’s general and educational terrestrial channels on smartphones and other devices. They will also be able to watch programmes broadcast within the past seven days.

NHK’s Board of Governors, the broadcaster’s top decision-making body for its management policy and operations, approved the plan on 15 January ahead of the press conference with Ueda.

The broadcaster will simultaneously stream programmes aired on its general and educational channels through NHK Plus, a new app that is being developed for the service. This will mean NHK subscribers can access the broadcasters services from their smartphones for free.