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Netflix Comes To Japan

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Online streaming giant Netflix shows no sign of slowing down! After launching its VOD service in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand in quick succession, the company has rolled out its service in Japan as well. The Japanese launch marks a whole new chapter for the California based streaming service provider since it represents the first Asian foray for the company. The company hopes to get a positive response from the Japanese customers and aims to have one-third of the households having broadband connections as subscribers in the coming months.

To ensure a smooth and fast rollout of its streaming service, Netflix has partnered with Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank which has 37 million mobile customers in the country. Under this arrangement, customers would have the option of subscribing to the Netflix service via SoftBank shops call-centers. What’s more, SoftBank Smartphones would soon come bundled with the Netflix app. Electronic giants like Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic have also reportedly started integrating the Netflix service on their Television sets. The price for Netflix’s service is almost the same as in the US market: ¥650 ($5.4) for the basic package, ¥950 ($7.90) for the Standard package and ¥1,450 ($12) for the premium package.

Japanese VOD market is fiercely competitive and worth around $1 billion a year. All major Japanese content providers and mobile carriers offer their own On-Demand streaming services plus there are a host of foreign streaming service providers in the market. Interestingly, Netflix’s launch partner SoftBank also offers its own VOD service to customers. Amazon is also set to launch its own streaming service in in the coming weeks so it is not going to be an easy road for Netflix. Even Hulu which launched its service way back in 2011 was not successful in Japan and was forced to sell its business to Nippon TV in 2014.

In order to crack the difficult Japanese market, Netflix is reportedly focusing on offering a higher percentage of locally made programs. The company has successfully followed this strategy in Latin American and European markets by offering up to 20% programs in local languages. For Japan, the company is planning to offer up to 40% of its shows in the Japanese language. Japanese customers prefer to watch locally-made programs so this strategy could definitely help Netflix to attract more number of subscribers.

Like its American, European and Latin American versions, Netflix Japan is going to be a geographically restricted service. This means you won’t be able to watch the Japanese version of Netflix unless your laptop, mobile or tablet has a Japanese IP address. If you are a Japanese expat who is interested in watching the Japanese version of Netflix from outside the country then you can subscribe to a VPN service which offers Japanese IPs to subscribers. Here are some renowned service providers having servers in Japan which are affordable as well (check out our Coupons sections to get great discounts on the already low prices):

All in all, it would be interesting to see how Netflix performs in the extremely competitive Japanese market.

January 12, 2016

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