Dentsu Inc., Japan's largest advertising company, and five television networks said on Monday they have started talks on setting up an Internet television joint venture.
Dentsu and Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., Fuji Television Network Inc., Nippon Television Network Corp., TV Asahi Corp. and TV Tokyo Corp. said they aimed to provide content online, seeking to attract the growing number of high-speed fibre-optic Internet users in Japan.
The proposed alliance comes as Japanese broadcasters face pressure to change with the advance of technology and Internet companies try to take a slice of the lucrative business.
TBS is currently considering a merger offer from Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc., while Fuji earlier this year fought a takeover battle with Internet firm Livedoor Co..
Online advertising is also taking revenue away from TV. Dentsu is focusing on the Web advertising market, forecasting that its Internet-related business would post annual sales growth of about 30 percent over the next few years.
Internet communications conglomerate Softbank Corp. was also in talks earlier this year with the television broadcasters and Dentsu on starting Internet TV services, according to Softbank sources.
A Softbank spokesman said on Monday the company was not involved in the latest alliance.
Shares in Dentsu rose 2.24 percent to 319,000 yen by midday, TBS was up 2.51 percent at 3,270 yen and Fuji TV was down 1.49 percent at 264,000 yen.
Nippon TV was up 2.46 percent at 18,720 yen, TV Asahi was flat at 301,000 yen and TV Tokyo was down 3.39 percent at 4,280 yen.
The Nikkei average was up 0.63 percent.