TOKYO: Japanese media regulators say they will curb commercials airtime on new digital satellite television channels, which are due to launch in 2011 when the analog signal is switched off.

The move is a response to consumer complaints about a glut of cheap-to-produce shopping shows on the twelve existing satellite channels, which began broadcasting in 2000.

Some industry commentators claim the shopping programs account for up to 60% of the total output on certain satellite channels – a figure that does not include commercials.  

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will begin accepting tenders for additional channels next year, giving priority to those with less advertising time.

The country's broadcast laws demand that broadcasters must maintain a sense of "harmony" in their news, entertainment and education programs. However, the law does not outline any penalties for violations.

Data sourced from The Asahi Shimbun (Japan); additional content by WARC staff