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Nippon TV Acquires Hulu Service in Japan

Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) has entered into a definitive agreement with Hulu, LLC, to acquire Hulu’s Japan business. The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory conditions, is expected to close in early Spring, marking Nippon TV’s entry into the SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) business.

Consumer lifestyles are changing rapidly in Japan. Content consumption on internet connected devices such as TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles, has increased significantly, and internet video services have been received with enthusiasm by consumers in Japan. Through its acquisition of the Hulu business in Japan, Nippon TV will offer another great option for consumers to enjoy entertainment.

“In addition to terrestrial broadcasting and BS/CS broadcasting, Nippon TV is looking forward to succeeding Hulu’s business as a new path to deliver content through the Internet,” said Yoshio Okubo, President, Nippon TV. “Hulu’s sophisticated brand, wide content line-up, and its outstanding technology are very attractive. We feel a big potential in the brand and service Hulu has created.”

“Hulu launched in Japan less than three years ago, a first-of-its-kind subscription video on demand service in the market which has grown to 50 content partners, offering users more than 13,000 assets of TV dramas and movies across 90 million devices,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO, Hulu. “We are very proud to have created a service that Nippon TV, the broadcast leader in Japan, sees as a strong asset.”

Hulu is an online video on demand service that launched in 2008 in the U.S. and is a joint venture between NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox, and The Walt Disney Company. Hulu in the U.S. offers a selection of hit TV shows, clips, movies and more on the free, ad-supported Hulu.com service with 30 million monthly unique users, and the Hulu Plus subscription service, with over 5 million subscribers.

Hulu launched its Japan service (also branded with the name “Hulu”) in September 2011 and currently offers subscriptions for unlimited viewing of premium content on internet-connected devices such as TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles, for 980 yen (tax included) per month. Hulu in Japan ended the 2013 fiscal year having more than doubled the number of subscribers from the beginning of the year. The service has grown to 50 content partners offering users more than 13,000 assets of TV dramas, movies, and anime and Hulu is available on more than 90 million devices (PCs not included).

As part of the acquisition, the parties will be entering into a separate agreement in which Hulu will license its brand and technology to a subsidiary of Nippon TV, as well as provide support services that will enable Nippon TV to continue to make the SVOD service available under the Hulu brand using the same platform.

Following the acquisition, the Hulu service will continue to offer Japanese consumers premium content, including Hollywood and Japanese films and dramas and popular television programming. Additionally, Nippon TV’s popular shows and original exclusive content will launch on the Hulu service in Japan, expanding its content offering, and continuing to delight subscribers in Japan.

Nippon TV is the leading television network in Japan, ranking #1 in average household viewer ratings in the past three years. Nippon TV has also been the leader in the initiatives to adapt to the digital environment. Nippon TV currently operates a TVOD (Transactional Video On Demand) service, “Nittele On Demand,” and with the acquisition of the Hulu service in Japan, Nippon TV will enter the SVOD business for the first time. The decision to enter this business is in line with the “Nippon TV Group Mid-term Management Plan 2012-2015 Next60.” In addition to terrestrial broadcasting and BS/CS broadcasting, Nippon TV will maximize content value by acquiring a path to deliver content through the internet, responding to users’ preferences.

About Nippon TV

As Japan’s first commercial terrestrial broadcaster to go on the air in August 1953, Nippon TV marked its 60th year of broadcasting in 2013. Nippon TV broadcasts and produces all genres of programs ranging from news, documentaries, sports, dramas, entertainment shows to animation. Nippon TV has earned the highest ratings among commercial broadcasters in the All Day (6am to midnight) category for three years in a row. Nippon TV also has a wide variety of group companies which deal with movies, events, publishing, TV shopping, merchandising, etc.

About Hulu

Hulu is an online TV service whose mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love. (www.hulu.com)

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