Japanese broadband consumers will soon be able to view their favourite programs online, as several of the country's major TV networks announce plans to provide web-based television.

Fuji Television Network, in partnership with internet service providers such as NTT Communications' OCN and NEC's Biglobe, is to offer online satellite programs starting later this month.

The pay-per-view service, tentatively priced at ¥200 ($1.8; €1.5; £1) to ¥500 per show, will initially offer sporting events and concerts, which might not be broadcast over the airways.

Rival Nippon Television Network is hot on the tail of Fuji, with plans for The Second Nippon Television Network to broadcast online in the autumn.

The service will show up to 10,000 broadcasts, including dramas and variety shows, many of which have already aired on Nippon's cable TV network.

To comply with copyright issues, Nippon will only offer programs online for which approval from all participants, including actors and producers, has been granted.

Although internet portals such as Yahoo Japan have already distributed online programs, the TV networks' extensive libraries are likely to give them the edge over internet service providers and search engines.

Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff