22nd JAMCO Online International Symposium
March to December, 2014
The Internet and TV Stations in the Asia-Pacific Region
According to the reports received in this Web symposium from researchers in various countries, Thailand has “access to programs that are currently on air or in the archives with access to the websites of major TV stations” (Mr. Sasiphan Bilmanoch). In Malaysia, “RTM live stream broadcasting is currently in operation on a trial basis. Live streaming started in early 2006 for the sole purpose of expanding the audience base through IPs or the Internet. At present, everyone is able to watch or listen to their favorite TV or radio programs on the web. Live streaming service expanded in 2012, (omitted) enabling access to current programs as well as programs aired on experimental basis or targeted to niche audiences” (Mr. Hazizul Jaya Ab Rahim and Mr. Abdul Manap Abdul Hamid). In Sri Lanka, many of its people have fled the country’s civil strifes and are currently living overseas. For this reason, “TV stations commenced broadcasting to the world via the Internet 10 years ago” (Mr. Mohamed Shareef ASEES).
The broadcasting stations in these countries are not extraordinary cases of Internet-based broadcasting in Asia. In my recent visits to broadcasting stations in Central Asia’s Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Internet use was described as a common media for communication and broadcasting.
In Pacific island nations, on the other hand, “broadband communication speed is commonly 128Kbps and Wi-Fi hotspots created with this access speed commonly cause slow loading and even freezing when trying to access to a typical website in Japan. Streaming is extremely difficult in such a network and video viewing is virtually impossible for nearly everyone” according to Dr. Kader Hiroshi Pramanik, demonstrating the realities of the digital divide.
On the inquiry into the conditions in countries that either market or donate a substantial quantity of TV programs to other countries, we have asked the state of media broadcasting in the Republic of Korea. In the country, “digital terrestrial broadcasting stations have been providing online program streaming service for nearly 13 years” (Ms. Milim Kim). It has been reported that major broadcasting stations are providing simultaneous rerun broadcasting and VOD in the country.
What are the conditions in Japan? In response to the amendment of the Broadcast Act, NHK compiled a proposal on Internet action standards that includes simultaneous live broadcasts of certain sport events in addition to natural disaster and election news and experimental simultaneous broadcasts for a limited period and during designated hours for a fixed number of viewers recruited from TV subscribers. This proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on November 25, 2014 for approval. As Internet-based TV program broadcasting service, study is being conducted in the private broadcasting sector into “catch-up” viewing service for missed TV programs by the 5 key broadcasting stations in Tokyo.
The TV industry in Japan has yet to reach consensus over Internet use, and quite a few issues regarding policy direction and time schedule remains undefined. In face of the solid advances made by broadcasting stations in other Asian countries regarding Internet use, I believe that possible use of broadcasting programs that does not involve rights regarding Internet use may clear the path without raising barriers. If we choose to have Japanese TV programs aired by flagship broadcasting stations in various countries that have high level of viewer access rather than purchasing overseas satellite broadcast channels for broadcasting, there is possibility of clearing or circumventing the barriers. In view of the fact that international broadcasting is a major issue for Japan, we need to find a solution to this problem in one way or another.
In closing this symposium, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Professor Emeritus Koichi Kobayashi of the University of Tokyo and Professor Haruko Yamashita of Daito Bunka University, who have played central roles in organizing this symposium as well as the presenters, the panelists and all those who have accessed and viewed JAMCO website.
Executive Managing Director, Japan Media Communication Center