November 21, 2019

Nippon TV and NECO

A commenter contributed a comprehensive overview of the Nippon TV and NECO International channels to the (Almost) Live Japanese TV post. It deserved a post of its own. The press release linked to below also makes me wonder if AT&T Now plans to expand its international offerings in the future.

According to this press release, Nippon TV is supposed to be available via IPTV and OTT (though some programs won't be available).

The press release mentions DirectNow as an AT&T OTT service, and that DirecTV subscribers can live stream TV through the Apple or Android app. I wonder if they are referring to either of these services when they mentioned the availability of OTT and IPTV services? In any case, at the moment, Nippon TV isn't available to live stream from the app and isn't available via AT&T TV (DirecTV Now's new name) either. So perhaps this will be a future goal for Nippon TV?

Anyhow, I have DirecTV and I'm subscribed to all the Japanese channels. Comparatively, Nippon TV and NECO International have less variety in their programming than TV Japan. Both of the newer channels still have a "work in progress" feel to them. So possibly their programming mix may change over time.

Once in a blue moon, TV Japan programs will have English subtitles, English dubbed audio available, or shows featuring people who speak in English. However Nippon TV and NECO International are solely in Japanese with no subtitles or alternative audio options.

At the moment, NECO International plays nothing but classic Nikkatsu movies. It's like the Japanese version of Turner Classic Movies. However the channel's mascot is a bright orange cat dressed like a rapper. Seems like an odd mascot to have for a classic channel. So it seems like they'll add some modern movies eventually. In fact, today they showed Bamy, a 2017 Japanese indie Horror movie, the most modern movie they've shown thus far.

As for Nippon TV, it mostly shows dramas and variety shows. No news, no documentaries, no music shows, no sports (though eventually it's going to broadcast Yomiuri Giants games), no anime and no talk shows.

About eleven dramas series run each week. Every month features two simulcast dramas. Right now the featured simulcast drama are If Talking Paid and Nippon Noir. Most of Nippon TV's dramas shown are fairly new, around 2018–2019, with a few dated ones (older than 2017) mixed in. Dramas also include Hulu Japan exclusives and some WOWOW versions. After the last episode of a drama has aired two to three times, it is replaced on the schedule with another drama. So that the lineup doesn't go stale.

The variety shows are Tokuson Life Hacks, The Quest, Matsuko in the Room, Matsuko Roid, two Arashi shows (Ninosan and Must be Arashi), season 16 of Gochi Dinner is on You, Shot, Monday Night Light Show, Celebrity Confessions to Ariyoshi, and some other talento/celebrity driven variety shows. Over the course a week, about eleven to thirteen variety shows run on the channel.

Nippon TV and NECO International repeat programming but it isn't done in an annoying way. It seems as if it is done in way to reach every US time zone. This gives many the opportunity to catch up on a show they missed.

I'm happy with all of the channels. These new channels complement, rather than replace TV Japan. At least one new Nippon TV drama still simulcasts on TV Japan per month. This month it's Our Dearest Sakura, which is only on TV Japan at the moment. However The Quest (variety show) and Shoten (comedy show) air simultaneously on TV Japan and Nippon TV. However I think each channel airs different seasons.

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