Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) has entered into a definitive agreement with Hulu, LLC, to acquire Hulu’s Japan business. The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory conditions, is expected to close in early Spring, marking Nippon TV’s entry into the SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) business.
Consumer lifestyles are changing rapidly in Japan. Content consumption on internet connected devices such as TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles, has increased significantly, and internet video services have been received with enthusiasm by consumers in Japan. Through its acquisition of the Hulu business in Japan, Nippon TV will offer another great option for consumers to enjoy entertainment.
“In addition to terrestrial broadcasting and BS/CS broadcasting, Nippon TV is looking forward to succeeding Hulu’s business as a new path to deliver content through the Internet,” says Yoshio Okubo, President, Nippon TV. “Hulu’s sophisticated brand, wide content line-up, and its outstanding technology are very attractive. We feel a big potential in the brand and service Hulu has created.”
Hulu is an online video on demand service that launched in 2008 in the U.S. and is a joint venture between NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox, and The Walt Disney Company. Hulu in the U.S. offers a selection of hit TV shows, clips, movies and more on the free, ad-supported Hulu.com service with 30 million monthly unique users, and the Hulu Plus subscription service, with over 5 million subscribers.
Hulu launched its Japan service (also branded with the name “Hulu”) in September 2011 and currently offers subscriptions for unlimited viewing of premium content on internet-connected devices such as TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles, for 980 yen (tax included) per month. Hulu in Japan ended the 2013 fiscal year having more than doubled the number of subscribers from the beginning of the year. The service has grown to 50 content partners offering users more than 13,000 assets of TV dramas, movies, and anime and Hulu is available on more than 90 million devices (PCs not included).
As part of the acquisition, the parties will be entering into a separate agreement in which Hulu will license its brand and technology to a subsidiary of Nippon TV, as well as provide support services that will enable Nippon TV to continue to make the SVOD service available under the Hulu brand using the same platform.