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Switching the channel from TV to web in Asia

Thursday 11 Aug 2011
Online-video providers are scrambling to get content to Asian Internet users, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Online video-streaming service Hulu has announced plans to streaming television shows and films in Japan later this year, in the firm’s first move into a market outside the United States.

Hulu, whose owners include Disney, Comcast and News Corp, offers TV shows, movies and video clips (in the US) from more than 200 providers at no charge.

It said in a blog post that Japanese users will have access to a large selection of premium feature films and popular TV shows at any time, on PCs, TVs, mobile phones and tablets, for a monthly price.

Hulu said Japan is “an unfulfilled market need with respect to premium feature film and TV content” as well as lots of high-speed Internet connections ideal for streaming video.

In China, Disney, Warner Bros and CBS have cut deals with Chinese video sites Youku and to have their content streamed online, as all of them vie for a piece of the world’s biggest Internet market.

Hulu will be transferring both content and a platform to Japan. But does Hulu have what it takes to overtake Japan’s other streaming-content platforms?

Its main competitor will be Japanese mobile phones, which already provide digital TV service through broadcasting service, 1seg. Phone companies that use this technology offer their own content as well as programming from other channels.