Netflix Teams With Japanese Mobile Carrier, Cable Operator
The global online video giant is looking to integrations as it has yet to establish the dominant market position that it has in other markets.
Netflix is teaming with Japan's third-largest mobile carrier, au, to offer the streaming platform via high-volume data plans, beginning this summer.
A $59.50 (￥7,500) per month au plan will offer unlimited access Netflix on smartphones, as well as voice calls and data. Meanwhile, a $43.65 (￥5,500) plan will give subscribers 25GB of data to use. For an extra $2.40, customers will be able to stream in HD on two devices, and for $6.35 they can stream in 4K on up to four devices.
Mobile giant au has more than 52 million subscribers and is owned by KDDI, which also runs J:COM, the country's biggest cable operator. J:COM said earlier this week that it would start offering Netflix through its cable systems, though details are yet to be finalized.
Netflix previously teamed with big cable operators in the U.S. and Europe to integrate its service into their offerings in what analysts have called a positive for both sides. These deals give cable subscribers easy access to Netflix on cable set-top boxes, providing exposure for the streaming service while encouraging users to continue their cable subscriptions.
Despite investing heavily in local content, including original anime, in addition to offering its global originals, such as Dear White People, Netflix has yet to make major inroads into the crowded Japanese market. Netflix doesn't release subscriber numbers, but local research company Gem Partners estimates it has a 7 percent share of the Japanese VOD market, in which around 30 platforms are now operating.
Japanese mobile carriers are gearing up for the introduction of ultra-fast 5G networks, which will increase the amount of data that can be transmitted, but are also predicted to increase costs for users. Sports streamer DAZN has already linked with Docomo and SoftBank, the number one and three carriers, while SoftBank also offers Netflix, though with no dedicated plan.