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Not to be confused with the following real-life stations and/or networks: ABS in Jordan, ABS-CBN in the Philippines, Akita Broadcasting System (a broadcasting station in Akita Prefecture, Japan), Amalgamated Broadcasting System (a defunct American radio network), or ABS (a TV station in Adelaide).

Aso Broadcasting System (麻生放送システム)
ABS logo 2015-
Never looking back.

Type

Television network

Country

Japan

Launched

October 1, 1987

Slogan

Never looking back. (2005.1 - 2015.5)
Stand By Me, Stand By Us (2014.7 - 2014.9)
You Gotta Believe! (2015.5 - 2016.4)
Yume wo Kanaete! (2016.4 - present)

Owner

Kabushiki Gaisha ABS

Headquarters

ABS Broadcasting Center, Shinjuku ward, Tokyo, Japan

Picture format

1080p HDTV

Service area

Worldwide

Channel numbers

Digital Terrestrial
Japan: 7
United Kingdom: 75
Dahrconia: 53.1

Satellite
Japanese Broadcast Satellite (BS): 7
Sky: 147 (United Kingdom, Ireland)
DirecTV: 2026 (United States)
FOXTEL: 120 (Australia)
Canalsat: 410 (France)

Cable
Virgin Media: 138 (United Kingdom)
UPC: 810 (Ireland)

Sister stations

ABS N24
Asahi Kokusai

Language

Multilingual
(mostly English, Japanese and Korean)

The Aso Broadcasting System (JOBX-DTV) is a Japanese multicultural television network. It is currently the most popular multicultural television network in the country. The network is owned and operated by Kabushiki Gaisha ABS.

History

ABS started broadcasting on the 1st of October 1987. The station launched as the first full-service English-language television network in Japan, to great fanfare from the English-speaking population of Japan. The station started broadcasting on channel 10 in Tokyo.

The station's early programming lineup mostly consisted of subtitled programmes from Nippon Television and TV Asahi. ABS also produced it's own news programmes under the name "ABS N6", and was broadcast across the network nationwide at 6pm on weekdays (hence the "N6" name). This programme became ABS's flagship newscast, and is still airing today.

In 1995, ABS launched ABS Sat1, a BS broadcast satellite channel which transmits additional programmes to complement the national feed.

The station launched its international outside broadcast satellite service on September 15, 1997. ABS claims that the service was launched "to give the world a taste of Japan's most unique entertainment, and news from a Japanese viewpoint, all in the English language". The same year also marked ABS's 10th year of operation.

ABS HD was launched as a 1080i high definition simulcast of ABS's national feed on the 15th of April 2007 as part of the station's 20th anniversary. The service shut down in 2011, when the main ABS television channel started airing in full 1080p HD.

At noon on the 24th of July 2011, ABS ceased analog television transmissions on channel 10, after 24 years of operation. The analog transmitter, along with the ABS HD digital channel, were taken offline at midnight on that day. The main feed was upgraded to 1080p HD to compensate for the loss of the dedicated HD channel.

After realising that it had shifted from English-language broadcasting to airing a wide spectrum of programmes from East Asia and abroad, it officially repositioned itself as a "multicultural" network. It added, however, that its core Japanese bilingual schedule would take up most of the network's prime-time hours.

On April 10th, 2015 representatives of the Spyder Valley Translator District flew to Tokyo to meet with ABS executives to bring programming to the Spyder Valley. On April 21st, at 10:45 WDT (Western Dahrconian Time), negotiations were confirmed as successful with a 10 year agreement making ABS programming available in Spyder Valley. ABS International, and sister channel Asahi Kokusai, launched on channels 53.1 and 53.2 respectively on July 16th, 2015 at 8 AM Western Dahrconian Time. The original plan was to launch on September 1st, however it was soon announced that Kabushiki Gaisha ABS and TV Asahi Corporation would launch their channels earlier than scheduled based on demand by eager viewers.

In September 2016, ABS began launching a number of owned & operated, over-the-air stations in the United States under the ABS America banner, with national coverage expected by 2018.

On-air presentation

From launch until 2003, sign-on was announced by the following voice-over;

"JOBX-TV, こちらは, ABS テレビです。" (JOBX-TV, kochira wa, ABS terebi desu./JOBX-TV, this is ABS Television.)

It is worth noting that despite ABS being an English-language network, their sign-on announcement is in Japanese. Some believe that it may have been due to Japanese broadcasting formalities.

In 2008, ABS debuted its first ever purposefully-made sign-on sequence, during a period when ABS was riding high on its Doraemon popularity. showing Nobita and the other characters "flying" in and around Tokyo, and some of its major landmarks (the Tokyo Tower, National Diet Building, and the ABS Television Center being a select few of these), with Madonna's "Ray of Light" as background music. ABS staff claim that this particular opening sequence was made as a rip-off of Microsoft's 2001 Windows XP commercial, with comparisons being made by viewers right from the get-go. Microsoft Corporation declined to comment.

In 2011, the "Ray of Light" opening sequence was updated, this time with Shizuka-chan flying past the then-newly-opened Tokyo Skytree, in addition to previous scenes from the 2008 sequence.

In 2013, another opening sequence was introduced, with the second half of Doraemon's 2007 OP as footage, and the accompanying "Yume wo Kanaete, Doraemon!" music in the background.

With ABS attempting to reboot the PaRappa The Rapper anime series in 2015, PaRappa's "Love Together" opening (from the 1st season of the original anime) was reworked into ABS' then-latest opening sequence.

With PaRappa taking a swift nosedive in popularity as announced prior to the end of the 2015 FY, ABS, on the 1st of April, reverted once again to another set of Doraemon-themed sign-on sequences. This time, it took the form of a minute-long animated short showing Nobita and Doraemon on a train to the ABS Broadcasting Center, talking about one of the many gadgets in Doraemon's pocket and demonstrating it in a comedic manner. Multiple versions of the short exist (with at least 138 unique shorts confirmed to have aired at least once), each one showcasing a different gadget, and with a different short airing each morning at sign-on. Despite being retired on a sign-on level, the shorts remain in use as signposts/special idents for Doraemon on ABS.

December 2016 saw yet another series of shorts being used as part of the network's presentation. This series shows the stars, characters and staff of ABS Television (both live-action and animated) providing an over-the-top, mockumentary-style, tongue-in-cheek look inside their offices and operations in a manner similar to ESPN's "This Is SportsCenter" shorts. The shorts run in a manner similar to European-style "idents" positioned prior to programmes, with special sign-on and sign-off shorts running at the beginning and end of the broadcast day. No working title has been given to this series of shorts by ABS as of currently, but the shorts can be viewed in full on ABS' website.

"Stand By Me, Stand By Us" campaign

Stand By Me, Stand By Us

An ABS advertising poster from the "Stand By Me, Stand By Us" campaign.

On July 1, 2014, ABS announced that it was starting a large-scale advertising campaign for the "Stand By Me Doraemon" film, using the network as a main subject of promotion. A special slogan (Stand By Me, Stand By Us) was put into use (overriding the "Never Looking Back" slogan normally in use) for two months as part of the promotion, and a number of special idents were seen as well.

The promotion ended on the 1st of September, 2014, when ABS dropped the special idents and features.

Off-air filler content

ABS enhanced testcard

An "enhanced" testcard used by ABS, showing a simulcast of ABS N24 and weather information. This example was retired at the end of 2015.

Unlike most other Japanese TV stations, ABS never ceases service at the end of the day. Instead of cutting straight to a testcard (like most other stations in the country), ABS uses "enhanced" testcards; multiscreen setups that provide information (such as news, weather, promos for upcoming shows, community service announcements, etc.) to viewers who tune in whilst the station is off-the-air.

ABS testcard

The standard variant of the above, retired at the same time.

A regular testcard is only used when ABS programming is terminated due to a technical issue.

ABS Anywhere

Main article: ABS Anywhere

Programmes

ABS has aired many different programmes over the years.

See the list of programming aired by ABS for a list of current ABS programmes.

Day of Anpanman

The "Day of Anpanman" occurred on the 19th of May in 2013 and 2014, was revived on the 20th of November 2015, and was ended outright in 2016. On this day, the Aso Broadcasting System and its affiliates (local stations and ABS International) devote the majority of their programming schedule past 8:05am to the Let's Go! Anpanman anime series and spin-off content.

Logos

ABS has used the same logo since its launch in 1987. ABS staff commonly referred to it as the "mountain" owing to its shape, with the logo's nickname being officially adopted by the network in 1999. The logo has been updated three times over the years for what ABS deems to be a part of its "more streamlined" branding package.

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