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Netflix Hitches With SoftBank For Japan Launch

Netflix’s launch next week of streaming-video service in Japan will be boosted by a major partnership with SoftBank Corp. The two companies may also team up on local content.

With 37 million cellphone customers, SoftBank company is one of Japan’s top phone providers, and is a leading tech and entertainment investor. Among Japanese phone companies SoftBank will exclusively offer a fully integrated Netflix experience, including billing.

Under the agreement, SoftBank customers will be able to sign up for Netflix at SoftBank Shops, major electronics retailers, via SoftBank’s website and call centers without filling out payment information, with Netflix’s monthly fee added to their bill. In addition, SoftBank will begin pre-installing the Netflix app on its smartphones for sale after October 2015.

Netflix revealed a three-tier pricing structure for Japan: a basic plan (single-stream standard definition) for JPY650 plus tax per month; a standard plan (two-stream high definition) for a monthly JPY950 plus tax; and a premium plan (four-stream Ultra HD 4K family plan) which will sell at JPY1450 plus tax per month.

Details were announced Monday at a presentation in Tokyo. The two offered no details of their potential involvement in Japanese content production or investment. Netflix has previously announced a content deal with Japan’s Fuji TV.

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