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Microsoft and 12 others invest in Japanese TV

The software potentate joins with a clutch of investors to help create a first-of-its-kind English-language TV channel in Japan.

Microsoft and Japanese phone company NTT are joining 11 other companies in taking a stake in Japan's first 24-hour-English language broadcasting service.

The new TV channel will be majority-owned by Japan Broadcasting or NHK, which will issue new shares through private placements with the 13 investors to launch the new TV service. NHK will own a 60 percent in the new TV service and the 13 investors will have stakes of less than 5 percent each. News of the new channel, which is the first of its kind in Japan, was first reported by the Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei and was picked up by Thomson Financial.

The new channel is expected to reach some 10 million households in North America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world, according to the news reports. In addition to providing 24-hour TV broadcasts, NHK is working with Microsoft and NTT, to distribute video content via the Internet.