Fri, Aug 12, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Hulu plans online video-streaming in Japan

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

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

“Since the very beginning of Hulu, we have had our aspirations firmly set on serving audiences around the globe,” California-based Hulu said in a blog post.

“We recognize 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,” the message continued.

Hulu’s service in Japan will be subscription based, with pricing and other details revealed at launch. Subscribers will pay monthly for access to films and television shows online.

Hulu portrayed Japan as a country with “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.

“We believe Japan is a vibrant market for premium video content distribution online, and are committed to our Japanese service for the long-term,” Hulu said.

“We have opened offices in Tokyo, with a dedicated Japanese team designing and running the service, and are hard at work finalizing preparations for launch later this year,” the company added.

Those interested in Hulu subscription service in Japan were referred to www.hulu.jp for information.

Hulu, which broadcasts TV shows through on-demand streaming, said earlier this month that it had 875,000 paid subscribers and was on track to approach US$0.5 billion in revenue this year.

Hulu’s owners have been seeking to sell the company and have met with prospective buyers including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, according to media reports. IPad and iPhone maker Apple was reportedly eyeing Hulu.

The site is owned by a trio of traditional media companies — Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp — and Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm.

Founded in 2008 and only available in the US, Hulu lets users watch a selection of shows streamed onto their computers for free with advertisements.

Subscribers to a Hulu Plus premium service pay a fee to access a more extensive assortment of shows that can be viewed on connected TV sets, gaming consoles and mobile devices including Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

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