Japan's TBS, Index in Internet TV Joint Venture

Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS), Japan's third-biggest TV broadcaster, said on Monday it will form a joint venture with mobile content provider Index Corp. and others to air TV programs over the Internet.

The move, first reported by media last month, is the latest between Japan's Internet companies and TV broadcasters, many of which have become takeover targets as Internet firms seek to use advances in communications technology to deliver content via the Web.

TBS, Index and satellite TV broadcaster Sky Perfect Communications Inc. said they would form a joint venture in January and plan to air

2006 FIFA World Cup programs for which Index has broadcasting rights over the Internet and cellular phones.

The three firms would also ask other nationwide TV networks, including Japan's biggest broadcaster Fuji Television Network Inc., to participate in the joint venture, they said.

TBS last month managed to fend off a merger proposal from Rakuten Inc., Japan's biggest Web shopping mall operator, which sought to create a media-Internet company after acquiring nearly 20 percent of TBS.

TBS agreed to discuss business tie-ups with Rakuten in four areas, including TV and e-commerce, after Rakuten placed half of its stake in TBS in trust.

Shares in TBS closed unchanged at 3,050 yen before the announcement. Index finished up 12.2 percent at 184,000 yen, while Sky Perfect was up 1.49 percent at 88,400 yen.

The benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.04 percent.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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