Tokyo Tower to add 100 meters

Operator fears broadcasters will move to new tower

Kyodo News

Nippon Television City Corp. is preparing to make Tokyo Tower higher in what is being viewed as a desperate bid to prevent TV broadcasters from switching to a much taller transmitting tower planned to be built in Sumida Ward.

The operator of the 333-meter landmark, which will be vying with a new 610-meter competitor dubbed “New Tokyo Tower,” has drafted a plan to extend its digital broadcasting antenna by 80 to 100 meters.

To boost the height of Tokyo Tower’s antenna by 100 meters, however, the structure itself will have to be lengthened by 20 meters, which would cost around ¥4 billion and be fully covered by the company, it said.

The new radio and TV transmitter tower to be built in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward is slated to become the world’s tallest structure when it begins operating in 2011.

NHK and five commercial broadcasters plan to move their transmitting stations to the new tower when they shift from analog to terrestrial digital broadcasting.

Although aviation restrictions currently limit the tower’s height, President Shin Maeda of Nippon Television City said the company plans to discuss the matter with related ministries and agencies.

The company will also put ¥3.5 billion into refurbishing the transmitting station, offering four times more area to each broadcaster.

“I believe Tokyo Tower will ultimately be chosen,” Maeda said Friday.

With the new generous offer, Nippon Television City hopes to prevent the six broadcasters from transferring their facilities to the new tower, which will deprive it of the huge revenues it draws from rental fees.

“The six companies will gather to study (the proposal),” an executive of a major broadcaster said.