Hulu just announced a major content partnership with HBO for its Japanese subscription service that will make episodes of shows like Entourage, Sex and the City and The Sopranos available to Japanese audiences. Shows will be available on Hulu Japan for a limited time, and the release will be staggered: Viewers will be able to watch the first season of Sex and the City starting in July and through September, with episodes of the second season becoming available in August and the third season popping up on the service in September.
Hulu’s SVP of International Johannes Larcher announced the deal on the company’s blog, where he also said that the content offered by Hulu Japan has grown by 300 percent since its launch less than a year ago. From his blog post:
“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.”
Hulu’s Japanese service is subscription-only, and the company lowered its price earlier this year to increase demand. Larcher said that Hulu now has 19 people working in Japan.
U.S. users of Hulu shouldn’t hold their breath for HBO content coming to the service any time soon. The shows added to the Japanese catalog are all part of the DVD window, and HBO has been successfully established its own online service HBO Go in the U.S. – and access to that offering is limited to cable TV subscribers who also pay for HBO access as part of their cable bill.