Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 01-09-2011

Hulu has made its long awaited move outside the US with the launch of a new subscription over the top (OTT) video service in Japan.

It has been long expected that the successful OTT service—jointly owned by—would expand outside its home borders and the news comes just as Hulu is up for sale at a prices rumoured to be around $2 billion. Rumoured buyers include Reuters, Yahoo, Google, DirecTV and

"Since launching Hulu in 2008 in the US, we have been working hard to bring our service to consumers outside our home market and become a global brand. Today, we are taking a first, but important step to make good on our aspiration to serve customers all over the world," explained Johannes Larcher, SVP of International for Hulu commenting on the new service.

In the latest comScore Video Metrix service, Hulu exhibited, at 3.4 hours, the highest average engagement for all online video services in the US and delivered the highest duration of video ads at 409 million minutes and the highest number of video ad impressions at 963 million.

For the launch of the subscription service in Japan, Hulu has secured licensing deals with top film studios and TV networks including CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) featuring content from Disney/ABC Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Additional content will be rapidly and continually added to the service, including Japanese-produced content and content from across the Asian region.

Available content will include premium feature films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Armageddon, Men in Black, Troy, and As Good As It Gets; and episodes from previous seasons of TV shows including 24, Bones, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives, Fringe, Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Heroes, LOST, NCIS, Private Practice, Prison Break and Ugly Betty.

Subscribers will be able to access the service on a wide variety of internet connected devices including Panasonic DIGA Blu-ray recorders, Sony BRAVIA HDTVs and connected TVs and Blu-ray players, the Sony PlayStation3, Microsoft's Xbox 360. Mobile platforms include smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; select Android phones from Fujitsu, HTC, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Sony Ericsson; and select Android tablets.

For the launch, Hulu has also entered into an exclusive mobile marketing partnership with Japan's largest mobile network, NTT DoCoMo. Full details of this relationship have yet to be revealed. However what is known is that Japanese subscribers will be able to use Hulu on any mobile carrier or internet service provider on supported devices. There are no long-term contract and no minimum subscription commitments.