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Hulu pulls out of Japan

US video-streaming giant Hulu is selling its Japanese subscription VoD (SVoD) service to Nippon Television Network, less than three years after launching in the East Asian country.

The deal – financial terms of which were not disclosed – is expected to conclude this spring, subject to regulatory review.

The Hulu Japan service, which launched in September 2011, was the first international expansion for the US internet TV service. It boasts content from 50 partners, with access to more than 1,000 feature films and 12,000 episodes of TV shows.

In a statement, Hulu chief executive Mike Hopkins said: “We have now reached a point in the growth of the business in Japan where we feel the best path forward is to sell the company to a strategic buyer.”

Hopkins, formerly president of distribution at Fox Networks Group, joined Hulu as CEO in October after a period of upheaval that saw interim CEO Andy Forssell, previously Hulu’s senior VP of content, taking over from Jason Kilar and owners Disney/ABC, NBCUniversal and Fox taking the company off the market.

The deal marks Nippon TV’s entry into the SVoD business. Yoshio Okubo, president of Nippon TV, said: “In addition to terrestrial broadcasting and BS/CS broadcasting, Nippon TV is looking forward to succeeding Hulu’s business as a new path to deliver content through the internet.”


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