Advanced Television

Hulu expands to Japan

August 11, 2011

By Colin Mann

Describing it as “a vibrant market for premium video content distribution online”, Hulu has announced that its first international expansion will be in Japan.

In a company blog post, Johannes Larcher, Senior Vice President of International at Hulu, wrote that since the very beginning of Hulu, the company had its aspirations firmly set on serving audiences around the globe. “We recognise that entertainment fans beyond the US have the same desires as those on our home shores: find and watch the world’s premium content when, how, and where they want. Today, we are taking a first, but significant step in realising that vision,” he said.

“With the launch of Hulu’s Japanese subscription service, for the first time entertainment fans in Japan will have access to a large selection of premium feature films and popular TV shows at any time, on four screens (PCs, TVs, mobile phones, and tablets), for one monthly price. We are not announcing further details of the product offering at this time (we have to leave something to the imagination, right?) but we will share the specifics when we launch,” he declared.

He said Hulu was excited about entering Japan right now for a number of reasons. “For one thing, Nihon wa subarashii kuni desu (‘Japan is a wonderful country’). Japanese audiences are passionate about premium video content, and the country is a major producer of world-class TV and feature films (Japanese content has played an important part of Hulu’s content lineup in the United States for a long time already). In Japan, we also see an unfulfilled market need with respect to premium feature film and TV content, and very favourable environmental factors to a service like ours, including extensive broadband penetration, smart phone and other Internet-connected device ubiquity, and strong consumer interest. We have been able to use what we have learned from Hulu and Hulu Plus, in addition to the insights gleaned from our market research, to design a high value product specifically tailored for Japanese customers.”

“We believe Japan is a vibrant market for premium video content distribution online, and are committed to our Japanese service for the long-term. We have opened offices in Tokyo, with a dedicated Japanese team designing and running the service, and are hard at work finalising preparations for launch later this year,” he said.

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