| Toshiba, Warner Bros. and NTV Collaborate in New Entertainment Company
14 July, 1998
Nippon Television Network Corporation
Tokyo--Nippon Television Network Corporation, Warner Bros. and Toshiba Corporation announced today that they will form a joint-venture company called Towani Corporation to produce and distribute movies and television programs for the Japanese and world markets.
On its establishment at the end of July, Towani Corporation will have an initial paid-in capital of 300 million yen. Nippon Television and Warner Bros. will both take 33.3% stakes in the company, while Toshiba and Time Warner Entertainment Japan will take stakes of 23.3% and 10%, respectively.
With entertainment as its watchword, Towani will develop and produce quality movies aimed not only at the Japanese market but other markets around the world. In its role as producer, Towani plans to produce one to two movies a year from 2000 on. It will announce the outline of its first movie program in about six months. The company may also undertake production of television programming.
With its extensive support from three major companies in the broadcasting, entertainment and electronics industries, Towani will contribute to the entertainment industry by developing and supplying high caliber content to the increasingly boundaryless and content-hungry world market.
Demand for entertainment content is booming with the rise of multi-channel broadcasting and the continued progress of digitization. In Japan, the coming "Big Bang in Broadcasting" will promote diversification into such technologies as broad- and narrow-band satellite digital broadcasting and terrestrial digital broadcasting, adding to the increasing impact of broadcast satellite broadcasting, communication satellite broadcasting and cable television.
This fast evolving environment brought Nippon Television Network, Warner Bros. and Toshiba together in May, 1997 to discuss new business in Japan and the worldwide entertainment market. The companies concluded that further development of the global entertainment industry in the 21st century will require high quality movie and TV programming content and enhanced marketing and promotion of content with a global appeal to overseas markets.
NTV is seeking to position itself in the forefront of digital broadcasting, including terrestrial digital broadcasting and broadcast-satellite digital broadcasting. Towards this, in July 1997 it established BS Nippon, which is scheduled to start regular satellite broadcasts of broadband digital signals in 2001. "We believe that the most powerful response to the fast-emerging diversification of broadcasting is development of a wide range of high-caliber content. That will allow us to make full use of our capacities in producing and delivering television programs" said Seiichiro Ujiie, President and Chief Executive Officer of NTV. "We see participation in movie development as strengthening our content-development strategy, and also as a means to promote distribution of our programs to the world market."
Stated Robert A. Daly and Terry Semel, Chairmen and Co-Chief Executive Officers of Warner Bros: "We have seen a tremendous rise around the globe in the demand for programming content, in all entertainment genres, over recent years. By combining Warner Bros.' creative, production and distribution strengths with Nippon Television, Japan's leading television broadcaster, and with Toshiba, an international leader in electronics, we have an ideal partnership through which to develop, produce and deliver top-quality film and television entertainment worldwide."
Stated Richard Fox, Warner Bros. Executive Vice President, International, "Japan is a key market for any global company, and we are very pleased to be in business with these two distinguished Japanese companies to launch this exciting joint venture. Japanese creative achievements in both live action and animation are known and respected around the world; we at Warner Bros. look forward to combining these attributes with our own to produce a unique synthesis of top-quality film and television entertainment that will target a diverse Japanese and worldwide audience."
Toshiba is proactively expanding its involvement in the broadcasting business. It is a shareholder in BS Nippon and a key member of Mobile Broadcasting Corporation, which also includes NTV. "We see broadcasting as a growth area, one with close links to our capabilities in hardware." said Taizo Nishimuro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toshiba. "Through our investment to Towani, we have assured our involvement in the complete cycle of content development, broadcasting and distribution in the home video market. This closely fits our strategy of positioning Toshiba a major multimedia company, supplying both hardware and software. As Towani further refines its role and extends its capabilities, we at Toshiba will provide it with advanced digital know-how."
Leading broadcaster, Nippon Television Network Corporation, has Japan's largest commercial network in Japan, with 29 affiliate stations. NTV has offices in North America and Europe, and 17 news bureaus in 12 countries.
Warner Bros. is a Time Warner Entertainment company, part of Time Warner Inc., the world's leading media and entertainment company. Warner Bros. brings movies and television programs in 40 languages to more than 5 billion people in 150 countries around the world via theaters, television and home video. Warner Bros. has operated in Japan for over 70 years. In 1992, the company consolidated its Japan-based distribution businesses and created Time Warner Entertainment Japan, a joint venture with Toshiba and leading trading house Itochu.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Toshiba Corporation is a leader in information and communications systems, electronic components, consumer products and power systems. Among its achievements are the number one share of the world portable PC market. Toshiba has 186,000 employees worldwide, and annual sales of over US$ 40 billion.
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