Report: NBC mulls Japan channel

Nikkei site says channel would launch in 2011

NEW YORK -- NBC Universal may apply for broadcast rights in Japan when the Ministry of Communications starts accepting applications in March and allots licenses around June.

Without citing sources, the Nikkei financial daily reported on its Web site on Thursday that NBC Universal, controlled by GE, would begin broadcasting in July 2011.

It said NBC Universal intends to boost its Japanese sales tenfold to 100 billion yen by 2012, drawing on its library of movies and television series. The channel, likely to be named Universal Channel, would be available for a fee, with advertising to be another source of income.

The report said that though details had not yet been decided, one plan was to apply for a license through its Japanese subsidiary. The other option was to supply programing through a partnership if it fails to obtain its own license.