Netflix partners Yoshimoto Kogyo for Japanese content

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 10 June 2015

Subscription video-on-demand giant Netflix is working with Osaka-based talent agency Yoshimioto Kogyo to make local content ahead of its launch in the Japanese market this autumn, according to reports.

Netflix will reportedly underwrite a portion of the production costs in return for exclusive streaming rights for a set period, with Yoshimoto holding the copyright, reports Japan's Nikkei newspaper.

The first series under joint consideration would star Sanma Akashiya, a popular Japanese TV personality, the report adds.

Netflix plans to launch its streaming service in Japan this autumn, but will face competition from a newly formed consortium of 29 Japanese content providers called Japan Contents Group (JCG), which plans to start its own VOD service Bonobo before the end of 2015.

Netflix Japan will launch with a number of Japanese films and TV series, as well as Netflix originals including Marco Polo and the upcoming Daredevil from Marcel.

"With its rich culture and celebrated creative traditions, Japan is a critical component of our plan to connect people around the world to stories they love," Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings said in February.

"As we expand into Asia, we're excited Netflix members increasingly will have access to some of their favourite movies and TV shows no matter where they are."

Japan could be a lucrative market for Netflix. According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) figures, Japan had 36.7 million broadband households in 2013, following China's 188.9 million and the US with 91.3 million.