Japan's Movie Television, a leading seller of Hollywood films and TV programmes to Japanese TV, has filed for protection from its creditors after its debts climbed to $345m (Y38bn) at the end of January.
Launched in 1984, Movie Television acquires broadcasting rights to TV series and films from five major studios - Fox, Paramount, Universal, MGM and Warner Bros - and sells them on to Japanese TV broadcasters. The titles acquired include X-Files, Titanic, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Gladiator.
However, Japanese broadcasters have not been buying foreign films or TV in the expected numbers - despite a predicted expansion of the country's TV broadcasting market which began with the launch of digital satellite in 2000.
"We struck output deals with Hollywood studios before the Japan's TV broadcasting market was yet exploited. However, despite our expectations, Japanese TV broadcasters were highly cautious about making expensive purchases of foreign TV series and films," said Emiko Nakajima, a publicist of Movie Television.