Netflix Considering Content Partnership With SoftBank in Japan

Netflix Inc. and SoftBank Group are considering a content partnership for the video streaming service set to start in Japan on Sept. 2.

SoftBank will also sell Netflix subscriptions in the country through its retail shops, the two companies said in a statement in Tokyo on Monday. The service will range from 650 yen ($5.35) to 1,450 yen a month and will come with one month of free viewing.

Netflix has already partnered with Fuji Media Holdings Inc. to produce a drama for the service’s debut, the first time for the U.S.-based company to launch in an overseas market with local content. The world’s largest online subscription video service will compete with Hulu’s Japan business, owned by Nippon Television Holdings Inc., and streaming services offered by NTT Docomo Inc. and SoftBank’s own Uula.

Subscribers to Netflix service worldwide rose to about 65.6 million as of the second quarter.

Hulu has about 1 million users in Japan as of March, each paying about 933 yen a month. Docomo’s dTV streaming service offers access to movies, Japanese animated films and series and dramas for 500 yen a month. SoftBank’s Uula has 1.57 million subscribers paying 467 yen a month.

Fuji TV will premier the teenage drama “Terrace House” when Netflix in Japan next week, the broadcaster said in June. Fuji is also producing “Atelier,” a drama set in the lingerie industry.