Netflix, Inc. Partners With SoftBank To Boost Japan Launch

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Netflix is partnering with SoftBank to help push its entry into Japan, where the U.S. firm will be launching its services on September 2nd. This partnership for content will be a great help for the U.S. firm in Japan, which is the first Asian country on Netflix’s expansion list.

Softbank to help Netflix’s launch in Japan

In their joint statement, the two companies said the agreement will allow Softbank to sell Netflix subscriptions, with pricing between 650 yen ($5.35) to 1,450 ($11.50) yen a month. Similar to the U.S., Netflix is also offering one-month free initial subscription.

With the partnership, SoftBank users will be able to subscribe to Netflix at SoftBank Shops, major electronics retailers, and with the help of SoftBank website and SoftBank call centers. SoftBank will also offer a pre-installed Netflix app on its smartphones from October 2015.

Softbank, being one of the best Japanese phone service providers and a leading tech and entertainment investor, will provide an amazing Netflix experience along with facility in billing.

Details of the partnership were revealed on Monday at a presentation in Tokyo. No details were offered on how the two companies will produce or invest in the content.

Netflix to face tough fight in Japan

Undoubtedly, Netflix will have to face tough competition from Hulu’s Japan business, owned by Nippon Television Holdings, which already has over one million users as of March, and who pay about 933 yen a month. Uula streaming services owned by Softbank has 1.57 million users who pay 467 yen a month. Another rival is NTT Docomo, which offers access to movies, animated films, series and dramas for just 500 yen a month.

In Japan, Netflix will offer a three-tier pricing model: a basic plan (single-stream standard definition) for 650 yen (excluding tax) per month; a standard plan (two-stream high definition) for a monthly 950 yen plus tax; and a premium plan (four-stream 4K ultra-high definition family plan costing 1,450 yen plus tax) per month, says a report from Bloomberg.

Softbank is going to be Netflix’s second partner in Japan, as the streaming service provider already partnered with Fuji Media Holdings before. The companies worked together to produce the drama Terrace House, which will be premiere upon the U.S. firm’s debut in Japan. This will be the first time that Netflix will debut in an overseas market with local content.

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