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Netflix Japan links with SoftBank

Netflix original historical drama Marco Polo

Netflix original historical drama Marco Polo

Netflix has teamed up with mobile provider SoftBank Corp ahead of the US streamer’s highly anticipated launch in Japan next week.

The Netflix Japan service will roll out from September 2 with a selection of Japanese TV series and films, as well as original shows such as Marco Polo, Marvel’s Daredevil and Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga.

The roll-out to a potential 36 million Japanese broadband households will follow Netflix’s expansion into Australia and New Zealand in March.

SoftBank will exclusively offer a fully integrated Netflix experience, including billing, when Netflix Japan launches and may also be involved in local content.

SoftBank users will be able to sign up for Netflix at SoftBank Shops, major electronics retailers, via the SoftBank website and via SoftBank call centres without filling out payment information, with Netflix’s monthly fee added to their bill.

The company, which is reportedly looking to sell its US VoD service DramaFever, will begin pre-installing the Netflix app on its smartphones for sale after October 2015.

Netflix has also unveiled a three-tier pricing structure for Japan: a basic plan (single-stream standard definition) for ¥650 (US$5.39) plus tax per month; a standard plan (two-stream high definition) for a monthly ¥950 plus tax; and a premium plan (four-stream 4K ultra-high definition, family plan) which will shop at ¥1,450 plus tax per month.

This comes after Netflix recently announced it was increasing the price of its service for new subscribers in some parts of Europe, citing costs required to build its content library.

Gregory K Peters, chief streaming and partnerships officer at Netflix since 2013, was previously promoted to general manager of Netflix Japan, part of the Californian firm’s strategy to complete its global roll-out by the end of 2016.

Netflix has previously announced a content deal with Japan’s Fuji TV.

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