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Netflix to launch in Japan

Netflix will launch in Japan by the fourth quarter of this year, its first official move into Asia, as it aims to complete its global roll-out by the end of 2016.

The subscription video-on-demand service will make its Asian foray with a selection of Japanese TV series and films, as well as original shows such as Marco Polo, thriller Sense8, Marvel’s Daredevil, and the Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga.

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

Gregory K Peters, chief streaming and partnerships officer at Netflix since 2013, has been promoted to general manager of Netflix Japan, which will open a Tokyo office shortly.

He said: “People in Japan soon will have access to great entertainment from all over the world for a low monthly price, while our more than 57 million members will benefit from increased access to great Japanese films and TV shows.”

Reed Hastings, CEO at Netflix, added: “With its rich culture and celebrated creative traditions, Japan is a critical component of our plan to connect people around the world to stories they love.”

At MipCom in October, Netflix’s content chief Ted Sarandos remained quiet on the streamer’s plans to launch in Asia, suggesting only that Japan was one of the more attractive markets worldwide.

The news comes in the same week Netflix said it was raising US$1.5bn in additional long-term debt to spend on content acquisitions, original series and potential acquisitions.

This latest expansion is part of the Californian firm’s strategy to complete its global roll-out by the end of 2016.

Fellow US-based streamer Hulu launched in Japan back in 2011 but sold its service to local operator Nippon Television Network after less than three years.

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