CHRONICLE ＞ 2012–2014 ＞ Full-fledged Transmission On Internet ｜ With Efficient Coverage, Responding to Viewer Interest in Asia and World
Tables of major events
- 5/22. Tokyo Sky Tree opens.
- 7/27~8/12. Public viewing of London Olympics with 8K (Super Hi-Vision).
- 8/10. South Korean president lands on Takeshima.
- 9/11. Japan nationalizes Senkaku Islands.
- 10/8. Shinya Yamanaka wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for creating stem cells called iPS cells.
- 4. Kabuki Theater reopened after renewal.
- 6/22. Mt. Fuji registered as World Heritage site.
- 8/21. Ichiro gets 4000th hit in Japan and U.S. combined.
- 9/7. Tokyo to host 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
- 11/23. China sets air defense identification zone over areas including Senkaku Islands.
- Islamic extremist group IS expands.
- 2. Ukrainian crisis deepens.
- 4/16. South Korean ferry Sewol sinks.
- 5/22. Military coup in Thailand.
- 8/8. WHO declares Ebola international emergency.
- 10/7. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura win Nobel Prize in Physics for developing blue LED.
- 10/10. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan becomes co-winner of Nobel Peace Prize.
SMARTPHONES AND OTHER DEVICES EXPANDING VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES
As diffusion of broadcasting and communications progressed rapidly around the globe, NHK WORLD began doing even more to offer Internet services, prompted by the spread of smartphones. NHK developed apps for receiving live streams of its programs. Now, people were able to watch NHK WORLD TV and listen to Radio Japan anytime, anywhere in the world.
7/2013. Japan Expo in Paris, France.
New program “KABUKI KOOL,” which began in fiscal 2014.
4/24/2014. U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe at news conference after summit meeting.
At the end of March 2012, NHK WORLD TV became viewable to 240-million households. This reflected NHK’s efforts for better reception. Also, its live streaming services on the Internet allowed people to watch NHK WORLD TV anytime, anywhere they could get online. Its official website, NHK WORLD ONLINE, had 140 million page views for one year ending in March 2012. NHK developed free apps for smartphones and tablet devices for the iPhone and Android devices. NHK WORLD TV apps were downloaded a total of 2,280,000 times in fiscal 2013, and RADIO JAPAN apps 206,000 times, which was four times as many as in fiscal 2012.
NHK also enriched its content on NHK WORLD ONLINE. In January 2013, it began to retain scripts for English news aired on NHK WORLD for 72 hours instead of 24 hours. Videos from main reports and features on “NEWSLINE” remained available for one month. In 2014, the website began to post RADIO JAPAN’s news scripts in Bengali, Persian and Urdu. Now, such scripts were made available on the web for 14 of the 17 foreign languages in RADIO JAPAN’s service.
SNS Also Used
NHK WORLD also began to use a social networking service (SNS) to deepen ties with its audience. In 2012, it started NHK WORLD’s official Facebook account, which plays a powerful role as a tool to promote programs.
Promotion Activities to Attract Viewers
To make NHK WORLD TV viewable anywhere in the world, the initial challenge was to ask satellite broadcasters and cable television stations around the world to air it. The next was promotion to attract more viewers. The first big project was the Japan Expo in Paris in July 2013. It was a joint effort of four programs of NHK WORLD TV and NHK's subsidiaries. The next year, NHK took part in many more such events on a bigger scale. From April to December in 2014, such events were held in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Jakarta, Singapore and Yangon. Particularly notable was the creation of Domo as NHK WORLD’s official character. Domo’s popularity was a big help around the world.
To Watch NHK WORLD TV in Japan
For people who want to watch NHK WORLD TV in Japan, NHK began offering its programs for cable TV and IP (Internet protocol) TV operators as an operation specially approved by the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications. Later, this service was defined as NHK’s voluntary operation and became viewable to about 4,700,000 households at the end of 2014.
With Efficient Coverage, Responding
to Viewer Interest in Asia and World
CONTINUING TO EVOLVE SERVE THE WORLD
Longer in Time, Richer in Content
4/16/2014. South Korea ferry Sewol sinks.
5/22/2014. Military coup in Thailand. TV viewing impossible at one point.
9/29/2014. Prodemocracy demonstration in Hong Kong. Umbrella Revolution.
NHK WORLD TV worked hard to make its content richer and more appealing to overseas viewers. It expanded its genres and made its own programs on topics including sports, art, design, architecture and state-of-the art technology. In 2014, it changed its daily programming from six 4-hour blocks to four 6-hour blocks, making one block longer and richer in content. And it increased the number of its programs to 43. In April 2013, “NEWSLINE” expanded midnight news to 30 minutes on weekdays.
Efficient, Stronger Coverage and Production Systems
For five years since “NEWSLINE” was launched, the international news unit had been strengthening its coverage and production systems. To report efficiently on Japan in its own way, it promptly introduced an advanced IP transmission network and a portable video transport system using communications satellites. It uses them for emergency reports and flash news on election results.
To cover Asia, it set up its own posts in Bangkok, Beijing and Seoul. They send reports regularly. When a major incident takes place, they immediately serve as key relay posts for international broadcast.
Keeping an Eye on Nuclear Accident
NHK WORLD attracted its biggest world audience ever for its reporting of the Great East Japan Earthquake. World attention was particularly focused on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a nuclear accident took place there.
The News Department also started its own project to report overseas. In 2014, it aired about 200 reports by its own teams and NHK domestic broadcasting stations in various places. It holds seminars every year to train people to report in English.
Emergency Broadcasting on RADIO JAPAN for Japanese in Thailand
On May 22, 2014, a military coup occurred in Thailand. The military took control of media at once. It ordered all TV stations to suspend regular programs and broadcast only the military government’s announcements. Japanese in Thailand became unable to view NHK WORLD PREMIUM, a Japanese channel. At that time, more than 50,000 Japanese lived in Thailand. So the next day, RADIO JAPAN began emergency broadcasting on shortwave in Japanese. It expanded its 12-hour airtime to 24 hours a day. It rebroadcast news on Radio 1 and aired its own news with a focus on Thailand, as well as safety information issued by the Foreign Ministry. It was the first time in 11 years since the end of the Iraq War, that RADIO JAPAN did emergency overseas broadcasting. (It ended on June 18.)
Many people sent in letters with comments such as, “We felt relieved; RADIO JAPAN began emergency broadcasting when we were unable to watch television,” and “In this age of the Internet, we again realized the charm of radio.”
Shortwave broadcasting is declining worldwide. But it can be used to send information to people abroad when local media are shut off. About 1,250,000 Japanese live abroad. This has made us realize the importance of shortwave broadcasting in protecting their safety and security.
(Akinori Hashimoto, former head of NHK WORLD Dept.)