Major Japanese broadcast network Nippon Television Network Corp (NTV) has acquired a 34% stake in Nikkatsu film studios.

NTV cited the value of Nikkatsu's complete production cycle and its distribution-exhibition businesses as the main reason for its acquisition.

Established in 1912, Nikkatsu also previously served as a production partner on NTV's hit Death Note franchise while NTV co-produced Nikkatsu's up-coming live action anime adaptation Yatterman (due for release March 7).

In recent years all the major broadcasters have turned to feature film production to help offset falling ad revenues.

NTV in particular has invested increasingly larger amounts in productions since the first two Death Note films earned a combined $88.6m in 2006. The second film in its $60m 20th Century Boys trilogy opens on January 31.

The NTV acquisition deal was announced today by Nikkatsu parent company Index Holdings, which had previously acquired a 71% controlling share in Nikkatsu in September 2005.

Index's stated strategy thenwas to synergize its mobile business by acquiring interests in contents producers - but a longer than expected timeframe to realize profits from feature films led to this recentdivestment.

Index transferred 2,403,630 of its shares in Nikkatsu, valued at $27m (Y2.392b), to NTV. The amount represents a 34% stake in the studio.

The deal leaves Index with a remaining 37.09% share and satellite operator SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings Inc's 16.76% share intact.

Index is now considering whether to sell its remaining share in Nikkatsu to further consolidate its core business of mobile contents.

Index also has holdings in Madhouse Animation and game company Atlus.