Netflix Considering Content Partnership With SoftBank as Japan Debut Nears

Going Up Against Hulu, Which Has 1 Million Subscribers in the Country

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Credit: Netflix

Netflix and Japanese telecom SoftBank Group are considering forming a content partnership for the videostreaming service, which is set to start in Japan on Sept. 2.

SoftBank will also sell Netflix subscriptions in the country through its retail shops, the two companies said in a statement in Tokyo on Monday. The service will range from 650 yen ($5.35) to 1,450 yen a month and will come with one month of free viewing.

Netflix has already partnered with Fuji Media Holdings to produce a drama for the service's debut, the first time for the U.S.-based company to arrive in an overseas market with local content. The world's largest online subscription video service will compete with Hulu's Japan business, owned by Nippon Television Holdings, and streaming services offered by NTT Docomo and SoftBank's own Uula.

Subscribers to Netflix service worldwide rose to about 65.6 million as of the second quarter.

Hulu has about 1 million users in Japan as of March, each paying about 933 yen a month. Docomo's dTV streaming service offers access to movies, Japanese animated films and series and dramas for 500 yen a month. SoftBank's Uula has 1.57 million subscribers paying 467 yen a month.

Fuji TV will premier the teenage drama "Terrace House" when Netflix in Japan next week, the broadcaster said in June. Fuji is also producing "Atelier," a drama set in the lingerie industry.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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