Hulu just announced that it will launch in Japan before the end of the year. The move marks Hulu’s first international expansion, it sounds like this foreign offspring will be squarely based on paid subscriptions. From the Hulu blog:
“With the launch of Hulu’s Japanese subscription service, for the first time entertainment fans in Japan will have access to a large selection of premium feature films and popular TV shows at any time, on four screens (PCs, TVs, mobile phones, and tablets), for one monthly price.”
A Hulu spokesperson declined to comment on any further details, but the move doesn’t come as a complete surprise to industry insiders. The Hulu team went to Japan in mid-May, talking to a number of potential partners. A person with knowledge of these negotiations told us that one of the companies meeting up with Hulu was the Japanese social networking site Mixi. It’s unclear however if and in which capacity Mixi, or any other potential partner, will be involved in the launch of the new service.
Hulu has been talking about a possible international expansion for years now, but earlier plans to launch in Europe didn’t materialize. Competitor Netflix (s NFLX) has since launched in Canada and announced plants to launch throughout the Americas before the end of the year.