Japan's Wowow recorded 2,550,874 subscribers at the end of June, the first time the satellite broadcaster has passed the 2.5 million mark in six months.

Wowow officials attributed the boost to its Digital Passport promotional campaign which features free sign-ups, fee discounts and live broadcasts of European soccer. However nearly half of Wowow's schedule is still devoted to films, a proportion that has not changed since it began broadcasting on analogue satellite in 1991.

Meanwhile, rival SKYPerfecTV reported 2,081,187 subscribers at the end of June, a substantial increase over the previous month. The platform expects a further boost when broadcasts of Italian Serie A league matches, featuring Japanese star Hidetoshi Nakata, resume in October.

SKYPerfecTV's results were boosted by nearly 400,000 subscribers migrating from former rival DirecTV which ceases broadcasting in September following its merger with SKYPerfecTV.