Netflix is prepping its entry into Japan on September 2 and in the process deepening its ties to local players. Following a deal for original content with Fuji Television, Netflix has now partnered with leading mobile provider SoftBank to offer a “fully-integrated Netflix experience.” Part of that will include SoftBank selling Netflix subscriptions, while a content partnership is also being considered.
Netflix is setting up shop in a market where it will compete with Hulu, which is owned locally by Nippon TV, and streaming services offered by NTT Docomo and SoftBank’s own Uula. SoftBank President Ken Miyauchi said Uula will continue, but the focus will be on Netflix, according to the Japan Times.
Miyauchi also told the paper that the partners may jointly create content, but details are as-yet unclear. Netflix Chief Streaming and Partnerships Officer, Greg Peters stressed that the company is focused on spreading stories and unique consumer experiences globally. He said that SoftBank and Netflix have a “shared dream” to find “amazing stories around the world, create incredible new experiences and to deliver them to consumers around the globe and here in Japan,” the JT reported.
SoftBank customers will be able to sign up for Netflix at SoftBank Shops, major electronics retailers, via the SoftBank website and SoftBank call centers. It will also begin pre-installing the Netflix app on its smartphones for sale after October this year.
SoftBank has been on a drive to expand its entertainment interests and become a global internet power. In late 2014, it invested $250M in Legendary Entertainment as they formed a joint venture to exploit the latter’s intellectual property rights worldwide. That move came after talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation cooled. SoftBank also owns U.S.-based wireless provider Sprint and premium web video service DramaFever.
Netflix, which now has over 65M subscribers in over 50 countries, today also said it has set the pricing for Japan. At pre-tax rates, a Basic Plan will be 650 yen ($5.40) with a Standard Plan for 950 yen ($7.90) and a Premium Plan will go for 1,450 yen ($12).
It is expected that Fuji will premiere a new version of popular reality series Terrace House on Netflix from launch. It is also prepping workplace coming-of-age drama Atelier (Underwear) which is set inside the lingerie business.