Streaming service, Hulu Japan is to give Russian zombie series “The Day After” coordinated releases online, offline and on free TV. The company acquired rights to all three seasons of the show, produced by Art Pictures, and previously broadcast in Russia from 2013-16 by CTC Media.
Hulu Japan, which is owned by Nippon TV, will upload all three seasons of the show to its SVoD platform from Oct. 5. The same day, the show will be given a DVD release through Fox Home Entertainment.
Terrestrial channel, Nippon TV will carry a single episode as part of its “Hulu Episode-1 Theatre” strand on Oct. 6. The show will then be available on TVer, an advertising-supported VoD platform jointly operated by Japan’s top five terrestrial networks, for catch-up for one week. Fully a month later, on Nov. 10, Nippon TV’s BS Nippon will begin terrestrial broadcast of the three seasons.
“Exclusivity is something we do care about, as others do, so it is very unusual that a series is premiered in Japan on OTT, DVD and TV simultaneously,” said Kazufumi Nagasawa, chief content officer of Hulu Japan. “We believe ‘The Day After’ has a huge potential in Japan given the popularity of ‘The Walking Dead’ and other zombie dramas here.”
The move underlines growing competition within Japan’s online video market, and companies’ increasingly flexible responses. Japan’s streaming sector was initially slow to take off, due to legacy issues with cable and satellite platforms, and viewers’ enduring taste for traditional packaged media. Hulu Japan was launched in 2011 and acquired by Nippon TV’s HJ Corp. in 2014. It now claims 1.7 million paying users.
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The show is the first major piece of Russian content acquired by Hulu Japan. “Our global ambitions are to create interesting TV content for people all over the world and to promote Russia as the country where content is born. This event is a huge and important step in our journey,” said Vyacheslav Murugov, CEO of CTC Channel and CTC Media.