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Netflix will launch in Japan in Sept

News, 07 August 2015

TOKYO/SAN FRANCISCO: Japan has become the latest target market for Netflix where the US video-streaming service expects to debut on September 2 this year.

Netflix revealed plans earlier this year to enter Japan in the autumn, following launches in Australia and New Zealand in March, but this is the first time it has announced a firm date.

It will make Japan the first nation in Asia to receive Netflix streamed content and the move fits the company's ambitious strategy of expanding into 200 markets by the end of 2016, Tech in Asia reported. It currently has 65m subscribers in 50 markets.

Netflix, the maker of shows like the award-winning "House of Cards" is likely to face limited competition in Japan in terms of Hollywood-standard original content.

Hulu Japan, which is owned by Nippon TV, could be a rival in terms of content, but other local streaming services are not thought to pose a major threat.

BBTV Next, for example, offers some Western TV programmes, but its monthly charge is more than double that of Hulu.

Some of Netflix's original programming, such as "Daredevil" and "Marco Polo" will be broadcast in Japan, the company confirmed, but it is not clear yet whether the more popular "House of Cards" or "Orange is the New Black" will be shown.

"With its rich culture and celebrated creative traditions, Japan is a critical component of our plan to connect people around the world to stories they love," said Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings in a statement released earlier this year.

Meanwhile, analysts have told Campaign Asia that mobile streaming could take off in Southeast Asia as countries in the region upgrade their 4G broadband networks. However, delivering local content will be the key to success.

Data sourced from Tech in Asia, Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff