According to reports, Netflix, a provider of on-demand Internet streaming media, has teamed up with SoftBank in order to launch its video-streaming service in Japan.
Though Netflix has partnered with telcos before, for example when it launched in France last year, this latest tie-up will see the Netflix mobile app pre-installed on SoftBank smartphones from October this year. The Netflix subscription price will then be added automatically to customers’ monthly SoftBank bill.
SoftBank users will have the option of signing up for a Netflix subscription at SoftBank’s retail locations and through the Japanese company’s website or call centers, as well as through major electronics retailers. Netflix announced their basic plan will cost about $5 per month (650 yen). Right now, Netflix is available in 50 countries and has a global user base of about 65 million.
Perhaps the most interesting part of SoftBank’s announcement was the possibility that the firm would co-produce future content with Netflix.
It’s unclear how the Netflix partnership will affect SoftBank’s own video-streaming service, BBTV Next. A free first month will come with all packages for SoftBank’s 37 million subscribers in Japan. However, the company is also meeting competition from domestic rivals, and a move to China is particularly expected to be challenging.
Netflix will compete with streaming services offered by Nippon Television Holdings and NTT Docomo (NYSE:DCM).
Netflix also announced monthly pricing for the Japanese market.
Netflix has gone this route beforeNetflix has clearly found that having a partner is important for driving member sign-ups in many global markets.
Telecom giant SoftBank has been reeled in for Netflix’s assault on Japan, which kicks off on September 2. Thankfully, Netflix is also working to develop its own original content, which should cushion it from impacts of unfavorable content licensing terms.