Just another one of those reminders that life is unfair. Hulu’s signed a multi-year partnership with HBO to serve Entourage, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and Band of Brothers to its subscription-based Hulu Plus audience … in Japan. Shows will go live one season a month, starting in July.
Hulu content available in Japan has risen 300% since its launch in the country in September 2011. “There are now more than 800 films and nearly 6,900 TV show episodes from 24 content providers,” according to Johannes Larcher on the Hulu blog. “And we have continued to heavily invest in creating original subtitles for TV shows that have never before been available in Japan, including new series like Sons of Anarchy, The Office and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”
Hulu acknowledges some homeland users may also want them a little HBO action. “As huge TV fans, we love all those HBO shows too, so we definitely understand your disappointment. We would still love to bring HBO content to the US Hulu service and will continue to work on it,” it promises.
Besides spreading Home Box Office glory to the Japanese, Hulu’s also yielded broader scope to local series and films, sporting inked contracts with about 10 Japanese and Korean content partners. Last spring it partnered with TV Tokyo, bringing Moteki, Suzuki Sensei, Yuja Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro and Saijo no Meii to captive audiences in addition to next-day catch-up access to anime series Inazuma 11 and Danball Senki.
But it hasn’t all been sunny in the land of the rising sun. Hulu Plus in Japan saw a 33% price drop to court users when the market didn’t bow as readily as it hoped.