US online video service Hulu.com has begun streaming movies and television shows in Japan in its first expansion outside the United States.
Hulu, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm, said the popular video service will cost Japanese subscribers 1,480 yen ($19) a month.
Unlike in the United States, where Hulu provides both free and premium services, the offering in Japan is subscription-only.
Japanese subscribers can watch advertising-free Hulu programming using personal computers, tablet computers, Web-connected TVs, video game consoles, Blu-ray players and smartphones.
Hulu senior vice president Johannes Larcher said in a blog post that Hulu's launch in Japan is part of the service's plan to become a "global brand."
"We are taking a first, but important step to make good on our aspiration to serve customers all over the world," Larcher said. "This is just the first of more markets outside of the US for Hulu."
Hulu said it plans to eventually add Japanese-produced content and content from across the Asian region to the service in Japan.
"We are in Japan for the long term, and excited to continue building our product for Japanese consumers," Larcher said.
Hulu's owners have reportedly been seeking to sell the company and potential suitors include Google, Yahoo!, Amazon and DirecTV, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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