50 Years of NHK Television

TV's changing role
The first 50 years of TV programs in Japan can be roughly divided into five periods.
(1) 1953-1962 Growth
Opening of broadcasting stations and extension of broadcasting hours. Increase in viewers (10 million TV sets at the end of 1962) and viewing time.
(2) 1963-1971 Development
Spread of color TV, and more stations to eliminate regional discrepancies. Stabilization of viewing habits (3 hours or more per day).
(3) 1972-1989 Maturity
Quantitative saturation produces a new focus on quality.
(4) 1990-1999 Multiple Channels
More channels with the launch of full-scale satellite broadcasting.
(5) 2000- Digitalization
According to NHK's audience surveys, in 1955 the average daily viewing time was 55 minutes. This had risen to 2 hours and 8 minutes by 1960, and 3 hours by 1965. Since then, with some fluctuation, people have continued to watch TV for about 3 1/2 hours a day.
Viewing hours expanded with the start of morning serial dramas in 1961 and the introduction of news shows, noontime variety shows and midnight dramas. TV overtook newspapers and radio in the latter half of 1961 to become the first medium people turned to for the news.
During the third period of TV, improvements in equipment helped to bring about more variety in programming, with increasing emphasis on social and cultural themes. TV firmly established its reputation as a medium that helps to enhance communication within the family, and that offers people access to news and information on important social and political issues.
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