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HBO Inks Streaming Deal With Hulu Japan

18 Feb, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

HBO Feb. 18 announced a subscription video-on-demand license deal with Hulu Japan, which includes exclusive access to current seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Silicon Valley,” in addition to library titles.

HBO, which is protective of its pay-TV legacy, including TV Everywhere platform HBO Go, has heretofore limited licensing content to just one third-party SVOD service: Amazon Prime Video. That landmark deal featured catalog programming such as “Sex and the City,” “The Wire,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Six Feet Under” and “The Sopranos.” 

Standalone subscription streaming service HBO Now launched last May in the United States.

With Netflix available in 190 countries, including service launch in Japan last September, HBO is attempting to remain competitive with the SVOD pioneer as it expands its reach in Asia.

Hulu Japan is not affiliated with Hulu, the latter — co-owned by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast — selling the unit in 2014 to Nippon TV.

“Personally, I am very delighted to finally be able to watch ‘Silicon Valley,’” Kazufumi Nagasawa, chief content officer with Hulu Japan, said in a statement.

Charles Schreger, president of programming sales at HBO, said the deal helps the HBO brand expand internationally. Outside of foreign pay-TV agreements, HBO offers digital-only access in Scandinavia through HBO Nordics, with additional digital platforms launching in Latin America, Brazil, Colombia, Spain and the Caribbean.

“We welcome this opportunity to introduce more of our greatest series and miniseries to Hulu’s viewers in Japan,” Scherger said.

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