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Hulu launches in Japan

Thursday 01 Sep 2011
US online video service has begun streaming movies and television shows in Japan in its first expansion outside the United States.

Hulu, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co, NBC Universal, News Corp and Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm, said the popular video service will cost Japanese subscribers 1,480 yen (US$19) a month.

Unlike in the United States, where Hulu provides both free and premium services, the offering in Japan is by subscription-only.

Japanese subscribers can watch advertising-free Hulu programming using personal computers, tablet computers, Web-connected TVs, video game consoles, Blu-ray players and smartphones.

Hulu Senior Vice-President Johannes Larcher said in a blog post that Hulu’s launch in Japan is part of the service’s plan to become a “global brand”.

“We are taking a first, but important step to make good on our aspiration to serve customers all over the world,” Mr Larcher said. “This is just the first of more markets outside of the US for Hulu.”

Hulu said it plans to eventually add Japanese-produced content and content from across the Asian region to the service in Japan.

In a press release, CBS Corporation and Hulu announced a multi-year, non-exclusive licensing agreement that will enable certain CBS television shows to be streamed instantly by subscribers to Hulu’s new subscription-only service in Japan.

“This new subscription service marks yet another opportunity to deliver CBS programming to more global viewers in a way that complements our traditional licensing business,” said Armando Nuñez, President, CBS Studios International.