BBC Worldwide today announced the creation of BBC Japan. The new BBC wholly owned entertainment channel will bring the best of BBC programming to TV audiences in Japan.
BBC Japan will offer viewers a mix of top comedy, drama, factual entertainment, children's and learning programming, as well as talk shows and documentaries, from Fawlty Towers to The Weakest Link, from Pride and Prejudice to Ready Steady Cook and from Tweenies to Goal.
Set to launch in Japan on December, 1 2004, the channel will offer a selection of programmes subtitled in Japanese.
BBC Japan has been created by BBC Worldwide's Channels team that is also responsible for the success of BBC Prime, the BBC’s international entertainment channel for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Headed up by Wayne Dunsford, BBC Worldwide Director of Channels, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, the team will manage and oversee the channel with the support of BBC Worldwide Japan Ltd. in Tokyo.
David Vine, BBC Worldwide Managing Director Asia Pacific, said: "Establishing our own BBC channel in Japan is a major step for us. Audiences there associate the BBC name with top quality television and the time has now come to offer them a channel where they can see such programming from the BBC every day."
Katsuhiko Waza, President of BBC Worldwide Japan Limited, adds: "There is a high positive awareness of the BBC name in Japan. This reputation has paved the way for a channel dedicated to the best of the BBC's entertainment output. We are looking forward to bringing BBC Japan into homes throughout the country."
BBC Japan will carry advertising and the channel will be distributed and marketed by media company Japan Mediark Co. Ltd.
The creation of BBC Japan follows hot on the heels of a year of accelerated growth for BBC Worldwide's existing wholly owned channels in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
BBC Prime, the international entertainment channel, has just achieved a milestone of 20 million subscriber homes. The channel is subtitled in Hebrew, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Polish, Italian and English.
BBC Food, the gourmet channel, was launched in Southern Africa just over two years ago and is now also available in Scandinavia with subtitles in Danish and Swedish.