“As a public broadcaster, NHK is using every possible platform to push forward in its mission to help our viewers stay informed.”
Please introduce your company tell us briefly about your main activity.
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is Japan’s sole public broadcaster. Funded entirely by receiving fees from Japanese households, it has a reputation for impartial, high-quality programming. Through its six nationwide TV channels, NHK reaches about 50 million households. It also has large in-house production units that produce a vast genre of quality programs in HD and 4K/8K.
Public and private broadcasters are currently facing a period of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had an impact on production and distribution activities across the globe. What impact has it had on your company?
As a public broadcaster, NHK is using every possible platform to push forward in our mission to help our viewers stay informed. The flagship NHK Special documentary slot has been carrying programs on the latest coronavirus-related research findings, medical challenges, and social issues.
The pandemic is significantly affecting programming in diverse genres including drama, entertainment, documentaries, and sports. We have also been forced to make significant changes to programming connected with the Olympics and Paralympics. We are tackling the new situation in a range of ways. For instance, all production of shows for which we would normally invite guests to our studios has stopped. Consequently, we are having guests appear online (remotely) in live broadcasts and have come up with creative new program concepts, e.g., telework dramas.
How has your international acquisition and/or coproduction strategies evolved as a result of the current situation?
Documentary acquisition team has been acquiring numbers of international documentaries related to COVID-19. Regarding coproduction, we have been closely speaking with our partners to find projects even in this unprecedented working environment where direct communications are difficult and production activities are quite limited.
This year’s theme at Sunny Side is History. What type of history documentary programmes should people pitch to your channel?
We always look for History programs with good stories, that would resonate with our audience.
TOP 5 Ratings
During the last two months, coronavirus-related documentary programs including the followings were watched by our viewers the most on NHK channels.
- Covid-19: Fighting a Pandemic
- COVID-19: Battle on the Cruise Ship
- Crisis Interviews: Looking Beyond the Pandemic – Three Worldly Perspectives
The spin-off short web clips from these programs also attracted much attention and set record numbers of views.
In the meanwhile, the following documentaries aired on NHK’s prime-time slot also won very good audience rates.