Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, released the following statement on Hulu Japan on February 27:
Today, I have an important announcement regarding the Hulu service in Japan. Hulu launched in Japan just under three years ago, a first-of-its-kind subscription video on demand service in the market. The Hulu service in Japan is now accessible across more than 90 million devices in the Japan market, including connected TVs and Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. And in those three years, the service has grown to include content from 50 partners, totaling more than 13,000 assets of TV dramas, movies and anime. Today our loyal fans in Japan enjoy unlimited access to over 1,000 premium feature films like Armageddon, Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, and over 12,000 episodes from previous seasons of TV shows including 24, The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl and The Walking Dead.
We have now reached a point in the growth of the business in Japan where we feel the best path forward is to sell the company to a strategic buyer. I’m announcing today that Hulu’s Japan business is to be acquired by Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV), who will assume the day-to-day operations and management of the business at the closing of the transaction.
Nippon TV is the leading television network in Japan, ranking #1 in average household viewer ratings in the past three years. As Japan’s first commercial terrestrial broadcaster to go on the air in 1953, Nippon TV marked its 60th year of broadcasting in 2013. From the beginning of our conversations, it was clear that Nippon TV understands the value of the first-of-its-kind service the Hulu team has built in Japan — we are very proud to have created a service that the local broadcast leader in Japan sees as a strong asset. I know that Nippon TV will be able to take Hulu in Japan to the next level.
Hulu will be licensing our brand and technology and will continue to provide services to the Japan business — loyal fans of the service will enjoy the same seamless user experience and product innovation they have come to love. Thank you to the Hulu team members in Japan, and managing director Buddy Marini, for all of your hard work and contributions. Nippon TV recognises the talented Hulu team we have on the ground in Japan, and I look forward to seeing you keep up the good work.
In addition to assuming the day-to-day management of the Japan business, Nippon TV will be adding popular Nippon TV titles to the service. More details on what content will be hitting the service, and when, to come later. We’re thrilled that Nippon TV will be able to enhance the entertainment experience for current and future subscribers.
I’m confident that the Hulu business in Japan is in very good hands, and Nippon TV will take the service to new heights, with the added benefit of allowing us to focus on our growing business here in the U.S. Thank you to all of our customers and partners across the globe for your continued loyalty and enthusiasm for Hulu.