WOWOW was the first private satellite broadcasting and pay TV station in Japan. It 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).
The channel's name is a double "Wow," and the three W's also stand for "World-Wide-Watching."