SKY Perfect Communications, which runs dominant but loss-making Japanese satellite broadcaster SKY PerfecTV, has confirmed that its chairman Koya Mita and president Hajime Unoki will resign.
Though the company has not officially decided on successors, press reports have named Yasushi Hosoda, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, as Unoki's replacement. According to these reports, Hosoda's appointment will be confirmed at the next shareholders meeting.
Since the start of digital satellite broadcasts in 1996, SKY Perfect has eliminated its competitors J SKY B and Directv, expanding to nearly 300 channels and recruiting 2.6 million subscribers. But the company has fallen deeply in debt, ending seven straight fiscal years in the red. Cumulative losses now stand at $765m (Y93.3 billion).
Industry observers are speculating that Sony, which has supplied two of the company's presidents, as well as the other shareholders, may be losing confidence in SKY Perfect's ability to restructure itself and move into the black. Instead, they may turn management over to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns a leading 8.135% stake, and wash their hands of what has become a bottomless money pit.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Management has opened bidding for the broadcasting licenses vacated by channels on the SKY Perfect. Among the channel slots on offer are six once operated by SKY Movies, which stopped broadcasting on June 15 in preparation for its merger with Star Channel Multiplex that will take effect in July.