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Netflix Partners With SoftBank Ahead of Japanese Launch

24 Aug, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix entering second-largest home entertainment retail market

In advance of Netflix’s Sept. 2 bow in Japan, the subscription streaming pioneer has partnered with SoftBank Corp., a regional telecom and Internet corporation.

Under the pact, SoftBank will enable consumers to sign up for Netflix at its retail storefronts in addition to paying monthly fees through the phone bill.

In addition, SoftBank will begin pre-installing the Netflix app on its smartphones for sale after October 2015.

At launch, the basic single-stream standard-definition plan will cost 650 yen ($5.50), the standard two-stream high-definition plan will cost 950 yen ($8), and the premium four-stream 4K ultra high-definition family plan will cost 1,450 yen ($12.30).

Netflix’s pending arrival in the second-largest home entertainment retail market (according to IHS) is a significant first step for the SVOD leader’s foray in the Asian market, which includes China.

With 65 million subscribers in 50 countries and creator of the SVOD market, Netflix’s global prowess is underscored by the fact SoftBank is apparently turning its back on its own video streaming service, Uula.

“[Netflix] is distinctively different from regular video streaming firms, as its approach is very scientific,” SoftBank president Ken Miyauchi told The Japan Times.

Other SVOD services in Japan include dTV and Hulu Japan, the latter owned by Nippon TV. Media reports say SoftBank and Netflix may partner in the future for original content productions.

“Now, we have a shared dream to work together … to find those amazing stories around the world, create incredible new experiences and to deliver them to consumers around the globe and here in Japan,” Greg Peters, chief streaming and partnerships officer at Netflix, told The Times.


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