TOKYO -- Nippon Television Network said Friday that it will get into the business of subscription video on demand by purchasing the Japanese operations of Hulu.
The U.S. firm will license its brand and supply technologies to Nippon TV, which will stream its own shows online via Hulu. The deal, whose price was not disclosed, is expected to close this spring.
Hulu entered the Japanese market back in 2011. For a flat monthly rate of 980 yen ($9.50), customers can watch as much as they like on such Internet-connected devices as TVs, computers, smartphones and game consoles. Content includes movies, dramas and anime.
Nippon TV now operates a video-on-demand service that charges users for each program they watch. With Hulu's Japanese operations, it will shift focus to a flat-rate business model, which is seen drawing many viewers and generating stable profits. Hulu is expected to continue streaming video from other TV networks, including TBS, TV Tokyo and NHK.
Japanese broadcasters, telecommunications firms and others have been rushing to expand flat-rate content and snag more viewers. The five major commercial networks recently launched a smartphone video service offering unlimited access to some 300 programs, including the latest dramas, for 945 yen a month.
The domestic market for paid video services will reach 163.2 billion yen in fiscal 2018, up 65% from fiscal 2012, according to the Nomura Research Institute.