HBO Inks Exclusive Hulu Japan Streaming Deal

HBO has streamed into the Land of the Rising Sun: The premium cable network reached an exclusive subscription VOD licensing deal with Hulu in Japan covering hundreds of hours of programming.

Under the pact, the Hulu Japan service will have access to HBO series including “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” “True Detective” and “Boardwalk Empire.” In addition, the deal will bring some HBO series, including “Silicon Valley,” to Japan for the first time.

The Japanese version of Hulu is now separate from the U.S.-based company, which is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal. Hulu originally launched the Japan subsidiary in 2011, before selling it to Nippon TV in April 2014. HJ Holdings, a subsidiary of Nippon TV, now operates Hulu in Japan.

Hulu Japan launched HBO titles starting Thursday. The service plans to substantially expand its content selection to add more than 800 episodes from HBO’s programming portfolio.

“We are very excited to be able to deliver HBO’s great lineup, which could be described as a treasure chest of U.S. drama series, to Hulu’s viewers in Japan,” said Kazufumi Nagasawa, chief content officer of HJ Holdings, in announcing the pact.

Hulu Japan competes with SVOD services including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which each launched in the country in 2015. In the U.S. market, HBO has a deal with Amazon Prime covering library programming that originally aired on the cabler three or more years prior.

Hulu Japan’s content offerings span international and Japanese shows, including TV series, animation, documentaries and reality shows, which can be viewed on a wide range of Internet-connected devices. Licensed American shows include “The Walking Dead,” “Under the Dome,” “Black Sails,” “NCIS” and “Empire.”

The lineup of HBO shows initially available on Hulu Japan are “Silicon Valley,” “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “Girls,” “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Newsroom,” “Six Feet Under,” “True Blood,” “Band of Brothers,” “Rome,” “Entourage,” “Little Britain USA,” “Todd McFarlane’s Spawn,” “Carnivale,” “The Pacific” and “The Wire.”

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