Wowow Inc. (株式会社WOWOW, KK Wauwau), listed as TYO: 4839  , is a private satellite broadcasting and premium satellite television station in Japan. Its headquarters are located 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, documentaries, movies and live performances.
- Wowow Cinema (WOWOWシネマ), a 24-hour movie channel. All foreign movies aired in original language with Japanese subtitles.
Wowow was the first 24/7, 3 channel, full high-definition broadcaster in Japan.
Wowow began broadcasting in analog 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 claimed approximately 2.56 million subscribers to its digital service. On July 24, 2011, Wowow shut down its analog broadcast.
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, Le Chevalier d'Eon, the 2016 Berserk series 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".
Previously Wowow's headquarters were in another facility in Akasaka.
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.
- The Simpsons
- The Apprentice
- The 4400
- Grey's Anatomy
- Cold Case
- Criminal Minds
- The Sopranos
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.
The president of Wowow as of October 2011 was Nobuya Wazaki.