Hulu is launching a subscription service in Japan that will have content from CBS for the first time in the streaming site's history, in addition to programming from its owners.
CBS said it signed a multi-year, non-exclusive licensing agreement giving Hulu subscribers access to shows from the CBS library including previous seasons of the CSI franchise, and the CW's 90210, plus older shows including Star Trek and Twin Peaks.
In the last fiscal quarter, CBS began registering millions of dollars in revenue and profits thanks to digital distribution deals with Netflix. It has also made a deal with Amazon.com, and indicated more deals were to come that would not disrupt CBS' main broadcast business or traditional syndication interests.
The deal comes as Hulu's owners, including CBS rivals News Corp., Walt Disney Co., and Comcast's NBCUniversal, are considering a sale. Bids were due last week and companies including Google, Yahoo and Dish Network were reportedly among the possible buyers.
"We're thrilled to have CBS's world class content be part of Hulu's first international market and their new venture in Japan," Armando Nuñez, president, CBS Studios International, said in a statement. "This new subscription service marks yet another opportunity to deliver CBS programming to more global viewers in a way that complements our traditional licensing business and realizes even more incremental value from our library."
The new Hulu service in Japan, officially launched Thursday, offers consumers unlimited access to films and TV shows from CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and the Walt Disney Co. for about $19 a month.
TV shows available include 24, Bones, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives, Fringe, Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Heroes, Lost, Private Practice, Prison Break and Ugly Betty.
Consumers can view content commercial-free via connected TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players.
"With the launch in Japan, Hulu is focused on adding meaningfully to the entertainment choices available to Japanese consumers, while providing a valuable new channel for distribution, increased consumer reach and incremental monetization for our premium content partners," said Johannes Larcher, senior VP of international for Hulu. "The partnership with CBS is significant for the Japan service, and we are excited to bring these popular shows to Japanese entertainment fans anytime and anywhere."
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