Hulu officially launches streaming service in Japan

The subscription service comes with a host of movies, including "Men In Black," "Troy," and "As Good As It Gets," and TV shows, such as "24," "Lost," and "Prison Break."

"Grey's Anatomy" is available to Japanese Hulu users.
"Grey's Anatomy" is available to Japanese Hulu users. Hulu

Just a few weeks after announcing its decision to expand its streaming service to Japan, Hulu has made good on its promise.

Folks in Japan can now stream a host of movies from the service, including "Men in Black," "Troy," and "As Good As It Gets." On the television side, users will have access to "24," "Lost," and "Prison Break," among other shows. Like in the U.S., all the content will be available online, as well as on connected televisions, tablets, and smartphones, Hulu said. Support for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will be coming soon.

Hulu's Japan launch looks to be just the first step of what could be wider global availability of the service. In a statement today, Hulu's senior vice president of International, Johannes Larcher, said the company is now implementing a plan to "make good on our aspiration to serve customers all over the world."

Hulu announced its plans last month to enter Japan . The company said at the time that its decision to expand to Japan before any other country was due to the Japanese audience's "passionate" feelings toward entertainment content, adding that its widespread broadband also makes the country a worthwhile option.

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As Hulu looks to the rest of the world to expand its service, the company is also reportedly mulling acquisition bids. Earlier this year, Yahoo reportedly inquired about acquiring Hulu, prompting the streaming company to consider such a deal. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google, Amazon, and DirecTV were among the firms preparing acquisition bids for Hulu .

However, how much the streaming company will actually fetch on the open market remains to be seen. The Journal claimed last week that the bids could range between $500 million to $2 billion, indicating that different suitors see varying levels of risk over the service's content and ownership.

Hulu, which is owned by NBC Universal, Fox, and ABC, has experienced some trouble as of late getting all the content it wants onto its site. Last month, for example, Fox started delaying its content on Hulu, forcing the service to wait eight days to get its latest programming, rather than one.

Such delays are issues for potential suitors that want as much as content as possible to keep viewers coming back. And it seems to fall in line with what Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said in February in a blog post, when he admitted that television executives, whom he called "incumbents," are hurting their companies by being unwilling to accept the changing times in programming availability.

But with a new market to capitalize on, perhaps Hulu can score a bigger buyout from companies. The only question now, though, is whether or not Japanese customers will want to pay 1,480 yen ($19.25) per month for access to Hulu. In the U.S., Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month.

 

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