50 Years of NHK Television

News Realms of Creativity

In 1989, NHK launched a two-channel 24-hour service via broadcasting satellite (BS). BS-1 is devoted to world news and sports. Live reports and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments are broadcast with the help of global networks. BS-1 also features such popular favorites as the Olympic Games, soccer, and Major League Baseball. It has attracted a broad audience with programming substantially different from that of terrestrial channels.

BS-1's 24-hour link with the world

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Live global news, around the clock
An around-the-clock global news program, World News, was launched on BS-1 in 1986 when satellite test broadcasting started. The idea was to show unedited news from stations around the world, with either subtitles or simultaneous interpretation in Japanese. Initially, the material was sourced only from New York and London, but Paris, Bangkok, Beijing and Seoul were added in 1988, a year before full-scale transmissions began. The latest news was also delivered from Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Western Europe, as well as from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In this way, a worldwide network that enabled 24-hour live coverage, anywhere, anytime was created.
Major global events covered swiftly by the channel have included the Tiananmen Square clashes and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Gulf War in 1991, and the terrorist attacks in the U.S. in 2001. BS-1 has continued to expand its coverage of Asian news and now liaises with 20 TV stations in 14 countries and regions.

The Olympics: it's all on BS!
BS-1's comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games did more than anything to establish the channel's image and promote diffusion of the satellite service.
The now familiar catchphrase, "The Olympics: it's all on BS!" was first heard in 1992, when Barcelona hosted what was then the biggest Olympiad ever. From a studio set up near the main venue, NHK broadcast a special program called Viva! Barcelona for eight consecutive days prior to the event. During the Games themselves, there were live and recorded transmissions 22 hours each day for a total of 329 hours throughout the event. For viewers in Japan, BS-1 coverage included the achievements of marathon runner Arimori Yuko and judo star Koga Toshihiko.
Subsequent broadcasts of the summer Olympics from Atlanta and the winter Olympics from Nagano coincided with the expansion of Hi-Vision (HDTV). More and more viewers tuned in to BS channels to follow these events. Digital Hi-Vision underwent test transmission during the 2000 summer Olympics from Sydney, followed by full-scale transmissions of the winter Olympics from Salt Lake City in 2002.
  New heroes on BS
BS-1 has devoted great energy to regular domestic and foreign sports. The three leading US pro-sports—MLB baseball, NFL football, and NBA basketball—are important parts of the channel's programming. Many other top world events are also featured, such as World Cup skiing and Wimbledon tennis, as well as start-to-finish live broadcasts of Japanese pro-baseball games. In soccer, BS-1 broadcast every match of the FIFA World Cup live from Italy in June 1990, and made a big contribution to the sport's booming popularity in Japan by showing countless Japanese professional soccer matches after the J. League started in 1993.
Major League Baseball has also been a key factor in increasing audience share for satellite broadcasting in Japan. One of the big sports news stories of 1995 was pitcher Nomo Hideo signing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and fans were delighted when BS-1 offered live coverage of all 30 games in which he appeared. In 2001, Suzuki Ichiro and Shinjo Tsuyoshi followed him into MLB, and BS-1 broadcast 217 games that year. BS has been a key medium for following the rise and achievements of new sports heroes.

BS News 50
In April 1994, BS-1 began broadcasting BS News 50, a 10-minute hourly news bulletin finishing on the hour. Together with its predecessor, BS55 News Bulletin, which started in 1992, it pioneered the headline news format in Japan. With the aim of delivering the very latest news from Japan and overseas, it includes at least 10 news items plus weather and stock market information. Effective use of computer graphics and other visual effects help to keep the program compact and easy to understand.


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