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Hulu expanding to Japan

The online video provider is taking its first steps outside the U.S. with plans to launch its subscription service in Japan in late 2011.


Hulu is going international for the first time with plans to expand its subscription service to Japan later this year.

The company didn't give too many specifics in yesterday's blog announcing the move. But it sounds like Japanese consumers will be getting their own version of Hulu Plus with access to films and TV shows across PCs, TVs, smartphones, and tablets, all for one monthly price.

Why Japan? The company cited a few reasons for expanding its service to Japanese customers.

Noting that Japanese audiences are "passionate" about video content, Hulu said it sees an "unfulfilled market" in the country for premium films and TV shows. Japan is also similar to the U.S. in that it has widespread broadband access and lots of smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices among its population.

Japan also makes many TV shows and films, according to Hulu, which noted that Japanese content has already been featured among Hulu's offerings to users in the United States.

Finally, the company revealed that it's taken information obtained from Hulu and Hulu Plus usage along with market research to create a service geared specifically for potential customers in Japan.

To move its Japanese debut forward, Hulu has opened up shop in Tokyo where a dedicated team is working to ramp up the service in time for its anticipated launch date.

The company has promised to reveal more details when the service actually rolls out. But for now, interested Japanese consumers can grab a bit more information at Hulu's "Coming later this year" site.

Beyond its move into Japan, Hulu has been busy lately dealing with possible buyout offers. The company has reportedly talked to a variety of prospective suitors, including Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. Yahoo is potentially interested in an acquisition if Hulu could offer the right terms.