Hulu has just announced that it is lowering its subscription price in Japan from ¥1480 (about $18.20) to ¥980 ($12.10). The announcement was made on the company’s Japanese blog, where it also said that current customers would be reimbursed 500 yen for recent charges. Hulu explained the changes the following way on its site:
“We listened to user feedback and assessed current market conditions and we believe that ¥980 is a compelling price point that enables us to offer what no other subscription service can: an instant streaming experience that meets the needs of content owners and delights consumers.
We pride ourselves on being innovative, flexible and able to optimize our premium product offering quickly. Lowering the price for our product in Japan is similar to when we lowered the price of our subscription product in the U.S. five months after we launched the service. We found that consumers in the U.S. responded very positively when we demonstrated that their feedback was taken seriously.”
Hulu had lowered the price of its U.S. subscription tier from $9.99 to $7.99 in November 2010. That pricing change seemed to have worked: The company was able to acquire more than 1.5 million paying customers through the end of last year.
Hulu didn’t respond in time when asked whether it had to change its pricing because subscriber numbers in Japan – which it hasn’t been breaking out – were below expectations. The company isn’t offering any free streaming in that country, relying solely on paid subscriptions instead.