Hulu officially launched a Japanese service, the streaming entertainment company’s first venture outside of its home country. Hulu Japan is more expensive than its U.S. version and does not have current television episodes, but it also does not have advertising.
Subscriptions cost ¥1,480 (about $19) per month for unlimited access. Initially, Hulu Japan will carry only past seasons of U.S. television programs along with feature films.
“As we’ve done in the U.S., we will rapidly and continually add content to the service,” said Johannes Larcher, Hulu’s senior vice president of international. “The content lineup will only become more robust over time, including the addition of Japanese-produced content and content from across the Asian region in the near term.”
Hulu also announced that it signed an exclusive mobile marketing partnership NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier, but added that Japanese subscribers “will be able to use Hulu on any mobile carrier or internet service provider on supported devices” without a long-term contract. Those “supported devices” do not yet include Android phones or tablets, nor do they include game consoles like Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 3, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
Among the programs available at launch are 24, Bones, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Heroes, Lost, NCIS, Private Practice, Prison Break and Ugly Betty, not including any episodes from the current season (for those shows still airing).
“As we celebrate the launch of Hulu in Japan, we are conscious that this is just the first of more markets outside of the U.S. for Hulu,” Larcher wrote on the company’s blog. “We hope that you will stay tuned for more news regarding our journey around the world.”
Hulu Japan’s initial content is from CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) featuring content from Disney/ABC Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros.
Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group and Disney-ABC Television Group, with funding from Providence Equity Partners.
Hulu’s blog post – http://tinyurl.com/3gwoscw