Nippon TV is making its first entry into the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) business with the acquisition of Hulu's Japanese business. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory conditions, is expected to close in early spring.
Yoshio Okubo, president, Nippon TV, said: "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.
"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."
Mike Hopkins, CEO, Hulu, added: "Hulu launched in Japan less than three years ago, a first-of-its-kind subscription video-on-demand service in the market, which has grown to 50 content partners, offering users more than 13,000 assets of TV dramas and movies across 90 million devices. We are very proud to have created a service that Nippon TV, the broadcast leader in Japan, sees as a strong asset."
Hulu launched in 2008 in the US and is a joint venture between NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company. It launched its Japan service 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. 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.
Following the acquisition, the Hulu service will continue to offer Japanese consumers premium content, including Hollywood and Japanese films and dramas and popular television programming. Additionally, Nippon TV's popular shows and original exclusive content will launch on the Hulu service in Japan.