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Hulu Japan says hello to Indian content

The plan is to offer Swastik Productions' Porus with Japanese subtitles

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MUMBAI: The world has been amazed with Japan's anime and now it's time for role reversal. While international over the top (OTT) giants like Netflix and Amazon are already playing an active game in India, Hulu Japan has also arrived in search of content.

A fireside chat with Hulu Japan CCO Kazufumi Nagasawa was conducted at Vidnet 2018 hosted by Indiantelevision.com powered by Verizon which had ZEE5 as title partner. The session was moderated by Indiantelevision.com founder and CEO Anil Wanvari.

Nagasawa said that the Japanese market is crowded with OTT platforms, majority focusing on SVOD service and a few on AVOD model. He claimed Hulu Japan stands with 1.8 million paying subscribers with more than 50,000 hours of content. Talking about the company making room for Indian content in the Japanese market, Nagasawa said that the plan is to offer Swastik Productions' Porus in its content line-up with Japanese subtitles.

He added, “We prefer period drama and are usually not excited for miniseries. Moreover, I got a chance to look at the Porus trailer at Mipcom and I was fascinated by it.” Baahubali was also another option that the company had offered to the Japanese viewers which worked well with them.

Apart from this, Hulu acquired Turkish and Russian shows and its performance did better than their expectations. “The reason for acquiring Indian content is because it is affordable as compared to Turkish content. Because of the given resources that we have, we need to be very choosy. In the next two years, we might acquire Indian shows including Tamil, Telugu and Kannada among others but with subtitles as we cannot afford to dub them.” He also said that in 2019, its plan is to focus on developing original content and to be less dependent on studio content (American).

Hulu Japan was initially launched in the US in 2011. Then it got acquired by Nippon TV in 2014. Nagasawa said that Hulu is a pure SVOD service and that is its primary focus. “We have 50,000 hours of content and out of that, 3000 are films and the rest are series. As far as content from domestic and international markets is concerned, 60 to 65 per cent are from domestic and the rest is from international, which is mostly from US. We actually launched our service with pure US content initially because we couldn’t get local content, especially from broadcasters.”

He further said that now most of the content the company gets is from its parent Nippon TV and the content that it provides is catch-up, exclusive content, drama series, extra footage etc.

When it comes to age diversification, Nagasawa said that initially, men were majority users. Right now it is 50:50 and especially the audience from Nippon TV has a big skew to women. "This happened because we started US drama series. Half of the consumption comes from living room set and majority of the users are watching on mobile that means many users are using multiple devices to watch content. In terms of hours, living room is most important but that doesn’t mean people doesn’t use mobile,” he concluded.

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