Well, that happened quicker than expected. Hulu has now arrived in Japan, and with U.S. content included as well. But despite the international expansion, the sale of Hulu is still going through, with the various bids now being considered.
Hulu has rolled out its first international service in Japan just a few weeks after first announcing its plans to launch in the heart of Asia. But Japanese consumers are being asked to pay through the nose for the subscription service. And all before any Japanese broadcasters are even on board.
Hulu was expected to expand to Europe first but after having no luck in persuading U.K. broadcasters to supply content the company backed out. Japan and Australia were then targeted, and the former has been the first to debut. The latter still hasn’t been officially announced.
Content Vs. Price
Hulu in Japan is an entirely subscription-based affair, with the service costing ¥1,480 per month (around $19.19 U.S.). This is considerably more than the $7.99 charged in the U.S. for Hulu Plus, although it does mean adverts aren’t necessary.
For that price, Hulu Japanese viewers get a lot of American content from the likes of NBC, ABC, Fox, and Disney, and even CBS, which doesn’t offer content through the U.S. version. Movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Men In Black are available thanks to Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.
Content Vs. Sale
Strangely, Hulu has launched in Japan without any Japanese content. This is thought to be on the way, assuming the relevant deals can be forged between the company and Japanese broadcasters, but it does seem an odd omission at this stage of proceedings.
I can only assume the launch was somewhat rushed through in order to make Hulu more attractive to bidders looking to acquire the company. After all, the sale is still on, and the board are currently mulling over the offers on the table from the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Amazon.
It’s good to see Hulu Japan launching. Japanese consumers now have a premium online video streaming service to use, and the rest of the world can be more confident that Hulu will make it to other countries in the not-too-distant future too. Assuming the new owners have international expansion in mind.
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