Amazon Launches VOD Service in Japan

Shopping giant is late entrant into developing online video market

HONG KONG – Home shopping giant, Amazon is to begin offering movies online in Japan from this week.

The company, which has previously sold electronic books and music will offer a selection of local and foreign films which can be either rented or purchased outright. They can be downloaded to either personal computers or to Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.

The new Kindle HDX also goes on sale this week, bundled with a coupon for the new ‘Instant Movies’ service.

The service starts with some 26,000 available titles. Companies committed to supply titles for the Japan market include local majors Toho and Shochiku and broadcasters NHK, Fuji Television Network, Tokyo Broadcasting Systems and Asahi Television.

FujiTV’s hit film “Thermae Romae” (pictured) and Asahi’s TV drama “Doctor-X” are among the initial offerings from local suppliers, while “Monsters University,” is available from Disney/Pixar.

Rentals will start as low as JPY100 (approx. U$1) for 24 hour usage of older titles, with downloads to own reaching JPY1,000 ($10). Those prices are considerably lower than the cost of new release films on DVD, which are often priced over $30 apiece in Japan. The country still has a viable DVD market, though prices and volumes are declining.

Amazon joins the Japanese online video market later than many of its competitors, though most of them have so far found progress to be slow. ITunes Japan launched in November 2010, Hulu Japan in September 2011. Other players in the sector include Google, local video rental firms GyaO and Tsutaya and JCOM, the country’s largest cable TV provider. Local independent Gaga launched a premium VoD service in August last year.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Prosecutors Make Last-Minute Move to Bolster Case

    The Manhattan D.A.’s office is making a last-minute bid to strengthen its case against Harvey Weinstein, who is set to be tried next month on charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors notified the court on Tuesday that they will seek a new indictment. The D.A.’s office wants jurors to hear from Annabella Sciorra, the [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Rules That He Died by Suicide

    Jeffrey Epstein’s death earlier this month has been ruled a suicide by hanging. The New York Times reported on Friday that the city’s medical examiner has officially made the ruling six days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. According to the Times, which cites a [...]

  • America Ferrera Eva Longoria

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and More Sign Letter to Latinx Community: 'We Will Not Be Broken'

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and more have signed a letter published in several media outlets on Friday standing in solidarity with the Latinx community. In response to the heightened tension surrounding President Trump’s immigration agenda, the El Paso shooting that targeted Latinx people and the ICE raids in Mississippi, the letter addresses the language used [...]

  • Research Firm Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox

    Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox, an Entertainment Marketing and Ticketing Startup

    Screen Engine/ASI, a market research firm that specializes in focus-group testing of movies and TV pilots, has acquired ticktBox, which operates a digital marketing and ticketing platform used by movie distributors, exhibitors, and TV networks. Terms of the deal, which closed Aug. 9, weren’t disclosed. With ticktBox, SE/ASI will have one of the largest databases of [...]


    Eric Reid, Jemele Hill – and Colin Kaepernick? - Take Jay-Z to Task Over NFL Partnership

    When news of the presumably lucrative entertainment and social-justice deal between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL leaked on Tuesday, initially there was a surprising lack of public reaction or outcry. But after a press conference where Jay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced the deal at Roc Nation’s New York offices yesterday — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content