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New TV station for smartphone users in Japan

Thursday 19 May 2016, by SIGNIS

Tokyo, May, 19th, 2016 (Asahi). AbemaTV Inc. is a new TV station aimed at smartphone-brandishing young people. It has been launched by TV Asahi Corp., a Japanese TV Channel, and the major Internet service provider CyberAgent Inc.

“AbemaTV Inc. offers a total of 24 channels on the Internet for free and includes niche shows featuring subjects that rarely get broadcast on regular TV such as fishing, mah-jongg and pet animals”, can we read on the Asahi website.

It started on April 11, in response to the increasing popularity of online movie delivery services such as Hulu and Netflix. Another reason for the launching is the fact that fewer young people are watching TV at home.

The difference between AbemaTV and regular TV channels is that there is an app designed to watch videos on smartphones and tablet. Indeed, AbemaTV is focusing on young people and tries to follow their needs. For instance, “its flagship news show is hosted by popular TV presenter Monta Mino and is designed to appeal to young consumers”.

Unlike other video distribution services, AbemaTV puts emphasis on smartphone usability. “Existing broadcasters put priority on the content of programs and took user-friendliness too lightly,” said Susumu Fujita, CyberAgent President.
One of the challenges that is facing AbemaTV is that many smartphone users can send and receive only a limited amount of data, according to their contracts with telecommunication carriers. “More people than initially expected will likely reach the ceiling,” Fujita said.

When customers exceed such ceilings, they need to pay extra fees. Although AbemaTV offers programs for free, the additional data communications fees may make smartphone users hesitant to watch free videos with their devices. TV Asahi and CyberAgent said they are pinning their hopes on the expected expansion of the Wi-Fi wireless network that allows customers to connect their mobile devices to the Internet.

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