on by in Advertising

Hulu’s subscription service launched in Japan in September 2011, and the business has been growing steadily ever since.  We wanted to share a quick update on what’s going on with our first international market. 

Content.
The content library in Japan continues to grow at a rapid clip. Today, we are proud to announce that we have entered into a multi-year agreement with HBO to bring Japanese entertainment fans some of the most compelling American TV programming ever produced. Select HBO shows, including “Sex And The City” and “The Sopranos”, will be available to Hulu subscribers in Japan starting today, with additional HBO hit shows such as “Entourage” and “Band of Brothers” coming later this year.  And earlier this month, Don Draper and the Madison Ave. heavyweights from the hit show “Mad Men” (seasons 1-3), launched on the Hulu service in Japan through a content partnership with Japanese distributor Pony Canyon.

The amount of content available to subscribers overall has increased by more than 300% since the service launched in September 2011. There are now more than 800 films and nearly 6,900 TV show episodes from 24 content providers. And we have continued to heavily invest in creating original subtitles for TV shows that have never before been available in Japan, including new series like “Sons of Anarchy”, “The Office” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”

We are also proud that we offer our Japanese subscribers anime series, TV shows, and films from more than 10 Japanese and Korean content partners. In the spring, we launched a partnership with local broadcaster TV Tokyo that brings Hulu subscribers popular TV shows including “Moteki,” “Suzuki Sensei,” “Yuja Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro” and “Saijo no Meii,” as well as next day, catch-up access to popular animation series such as “Inazuma 11” and “Danball Senki”.

We are excited about the content growth to date, and look forward to bringing more premium TV shows and films from around the world to Hulu’s subscribers in Japan.

Device Footprint.
The company has also expanded the number of Hulu-enabled, Internet-connected devices in market. As of today, there are more than 29 million Hulu-enabled devices in the market. Since September 2011, Hulu has launched on many internet connected devices including Sony TVs, Sony PlayStation® 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360®.  We continue to expand our device footprint, and we recently announced Hulu will be coming to Nintendo Wii in Japan. Expect aggressive expansion on more devices through the rest of the year.

National Brand Campaign.
In Q2, we launched our first national brand advertising campaign in Japan, which included a TV commercial, online and out-of-home marketing. The TV commercial, entitled “The Story Goes On”, shows how Hulu connects rich stories with the people who love them. Television has a colorful history, and Hulu is proud to be a part of its future in Japan.

Hulu also took over multiple train lines throughout various parts of Japan, including the Yamanote line in Tokyo. (It’s the “green line”, naturally.)

Yamanote Line in Tokyo

The Hulu Team in Japan.
We now have 19 full-time Hulu team members in Japan.  In April, Buddy Marini joined Hulu as the managing director of our Japan business. Buddy now leads all aspects of Hulu’s business in Japan and is responsible for strategic business planning, day-to-day operations, content acquisition and distribution, and marketing.

To support the growing team, we recently moved into new office space in Roppongi, Tokyo.  Check it out! (We think it’s pretty cool.)

While it is early days for our first international market, we have been extremely pleased by the warm welcome we have received to date. Our service has clearly struck a chord with Japanese consumers, and we are excited about adding more great content and additional distribution partners to further increase its appeal. We are grateful to our content partners and subscribers who have been instrumental to our growth and we will continue to innovate the Hulu service on behalf of all our customers.

Domo Arigato,

Johannes