International online video viewers have been patiently waiting for one big thing—to be able to watch Hulu. Since the online video streaming site launched it has only been available in the United States, which has been a major source of frustration for people in other parts of the world who want an easy way to stream their favorite TV shows and films on the web. Well folks, it looks like things are finally starting to look up for the international crowd—Hulu has announced that they are finally going abroad, starting with a launch in Japan later this year.
Johannes Larcher, Senior VP of International at Hulu, writes on the Hulu blog, “Since the very beginning of Hulu, we have had our aspirations firmly set on serving audiences around the globe. We recognize that entertainment fans beyond the U.S. have the same desires as those on our home shores: find and watch the world’s premium content when, how, and where they want. Today, we are taking a first, but significant step in realizing that vision.”
Larcher points out that the launch of Hulu’s Japanese subscription service will mark the first time in history that Japanese entertainment fans will have access to such a large selection of streaming content at any time for a monthly price. It is, as of now, unclear whether the Japanese subscription service will include the same library as the U.S. service, or whether it will be made up of content from Japanese distributers and studios instead. Larcher says they are not announcing further details at this time because, “We have to leave something to the imagination, right?”
So why did Hulu decide to head to Japan for its first international launch? “In Japan, we see an unfulfilled market need with respect to premium feature film and TV content, and very favorable environmental factors to a service like ours, including extensive broadband penetration, smart phone and other internet-connected device ubiquity, and strong consumer interest. We have been able to use what we have learned from Hulu and Hulu Plus, in addition to the insights gleaned from our market research, to design a high value product specifically tailored for Japanese customers.”
If you are in Japan and are interested in signing up for Hulu once the service launches in Japan you can register for details at www.hulu.jp. Other internationals, lets keep our fingers crossed that Hulu will plan more international launches after they bring the service to Japan!
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.