Amazon Launches Online Video Service in Japan

Walt Disney Studios
Monsters University, the second-highest grossing film in Japan this year, is available on Instant Video

More than 26,000 imported and local films and TV shows are available on the Instant Video platform that will compete in the crowded Japanese Web video market.

TOKYO – Amazon Japan launched its 'Instant Video' online platform Tuesday (Nov. 27), offering movies and TV series for streaming, download rental and purchase, with content from all the local major studios and TV networks.

Rental fees for 24 hours begin from $1 (100 yen), with titles from Hollywood studios, local majors such as Toho and Shochiku, public broadcaster NHK and the commercial networks, including Fuji TV, TBS and NTV.

Monsters University, a box office smash in Japan, is being offered at $5 to rent and $25 to buy, while the first installment of The Hobbit trilogy is available to buy only, at $20. Older titles, such as the Resident Evil and Lethal Weapon series are available for $1.

The first episode of the first season of programs including Glee, 24 and local hit drama Boys over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) are being offered free.

Off the 26,000 titles available, approximately 15,000 are available in HD. Titles can be streamed to two devices, such as a computer and Amazon's Kindle tablet, but downloaded to only one.  

The new Kindle HDX goes on sale in Japan tomorrow, and will be offering a $20 (2,000 yen) coupon for Instant Video as a promotional tie-in.

Instant Video will see Amazon, which is already well-established as an online mall in Japan, going up against local operators such as GyaO Corp, Tsutaya TV and NotTV, as well as Hulu and Apple's Japanese platforms. JCOM, Japan's biggest cable network, also offers a VOD service that allows content to be downloaded to multiple devices.

Amazon Japan began selling e-books at the end of last year, already offers more than 25 million songs on its music service, and started to sell over-the-counter medicines in September following partial deregulation of the pharmaceutical market.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair