Less than three years after launching in Japan, Hulu is selling its SVOD service in that country to Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) in a deal announced Friday.
The transaction is expected to close in early spring, allowing the broadcaster to transfer its content offering onto a web-based platform with an established audience.
Hulu has about 50 content partners in Japan, and carries more than than 13,000 TV shows and movies. From the beginning to the end of last year, the company doubled its subscriber base (a subscription costs about US$10/month) from the start of the year, according to a statement, though audience figures in that market are not released.
“We have now reached a point in the growth of the business in Japan where we feel the best path forward is to sell the company to a strategic buyer,” CEO Mike Hopkins writes.
As part of the acquisition, Hulu will license its brand and technology to a subsidiary of Nippon TV, providing support services so that it’s able to continue functioning under the Hulu brand using the same platform. Nippon TV, a leading network in Japan and the country’s first commercial terrestrial broadcaster, operates a fee-based content distribution service called Nittele On Demand. But with the Hulu acquisition it’s adopting a subscription model for the first time.
Hulu is a joint venture between NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox, and The Walt Disney Company. The ad-supported service in the U.S. has 30 million monthly unique viewers, and the Hulu Plus subscription service has five million subscribers.