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WOWOW (株式会社WOWOW(ワウワウ、WOWOW Inc.) ) listed as TYO: 4839, is the first private satellite broadcasting and pay television station in Japan. It has its headquarters on the 21st floor of the Akasaka Park Building in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo. Its broadcasting center is in Koto, Tokyo.
On October 1, 2011, WOWOW expanded their single channel broadcast satellite service to provide three high-definition TV channels:
- WOWOW Prime (WOWOWプライム), a general entertainment channel;
- WOWOW Live (WOWOWライブ), covering sports and live performances; and
- WOWOW Cinema (WOWOWシネマ), a 24-hour movie channel.
WOWOW is the first 24/7, 3 channel, full high-definition broadcaster in Japan.
WOWOW began analog broadcasting on April 1, 1991. Digital broadcasting began on December 1, 2000. The network began with 207,753 subscribers (31.5 billion yen in sales), growing to 2,667,414 two years later (64.5 billion yen in sales). As of December 2011, WOWOW claims approximately 2.56 million subscribers to its digital service.
WOWOW mostly rebroadcasts movies, but is also well known for showing (and even co-producing and/or assisting in the production of) original anime series such as Big O, Brain Powerd, Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran, Trinity Blood, Cowboy Bebop (the complete uncut version), Shinreigari/Ghost Hound, Crest of the Stars, Ergo Proxy, X/1999, SHUFFLE!, Paranoia Agent, Now and Then, Here and There and Le Chevalier d'Eon, as well as the Anime Complex block. Due to the looser broadcast standards for satellite television in Japan, WOWOW has become a primary means of widespread distribution for anime with themes or subject matter that the broadcast networks cannot show. Several anime studios have partnership deals for distributing their more mature series, with the famed Studio Madhouse among them.
The channel's name is a double "Wow", and the three W's also stand for "World-Wide-Watching".
WOWOW also broadcasts Japanese-dubbed American television series such as Friends, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Medium, The 4400, Project Runway, South Park, and The Simpsons, among others. WOWOW has also screened Ultimate Fighting Championship events for Japanese audiences, the Korean drama My Name is Kim Sam Soon and the UK comedy sketch show Little Britain, as well as the British drama/action show Ultimate Force under the name SAS: British Special Forces.
Previously WOWOW's headquarters was in another facility in Akasaka.
WOWOW has broadcast all four tennis Grand Slam Championships since 2008. They are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. They broadcast UFC Japan on February 26, 2012 and have since continued to broadcast UFC events.
- "Corporate Info." WOWOW. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. "THE HEAD OFFICE 21F, Akasaka Park Building, 5-2-20,Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-6121 Tel.81-3-4330-8111WOWOW INC. MAP." and "2-1-58, Tatsumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0053" Addresses in Japanese: "東京都港区赤坂5-2-20 赤坂パークビル21F" and "東京都江東区辰巳2-1-58"
- "Head office." (Direct image link) WOWOW. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. Map in Japanese (Direct link)
- "Broadcasting Center." (Direct image link) WOWOW. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. Map in Japanese (Direct link)
- WOWOW Inc. (2011). Business Summary: Business Contents. Accessed on January 31, 2012.
- WOWOW Inc. (2011). Business Summary: Subscription. Accessed on January 31, 2012.
- "Corporate Information." WOWOW. April 13, 2008. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. "1-5-8, Moto Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8080" Japanese address: "東京都港区元赤坂1-5-8"