Following Netflix’s September 2 launch in Japan, Amazon is pushing forward to launch Prime Instant Video during September as well. Providing unlimited access to selected videos within the Prime Instant Video section, Japanese consumers will have to be subscribed to Amazon Prime in order to access the content. Amazon Prime currently costs 3,900 yen a year in Japan, roughly $32.50.
Alternatively, Netflix will be launching two plans for SD and HD streaming that will cost less than $65 a year and less than $95 a year respectively. Of course, the content library is likely to be significantly larger on Netflix compared to Amazon Prime Instant Video, similar to the two competing content libraries accessible to North American users. However, Amazon’s core advantage over Netflix is the company has been running Amazon Prime in Japan for 10 years and already has an existing base of subscribers.
Speaking about the launch of Prime Instant Video, Amazon Japan president Jasper Cheung said “As we’ve shown with the launch of Prime Video in the U.S. and around the world, we are investing significantly to bring high-quality, local and popular programming to Prime members, and our customers in Japan should expect the same investment. We’ve been offering videos and DVDs in Japan for 15 years — we know the entertainment customers want — and we plan to deliver it with Prime Video, all at no additional cost.”
While Amazon didn’t specify what shows will be made available to Japanese consumers, representatives for Amazon stated it will be a mixture of U.S. and Japanese films, popular Japanese dramas as well as anime selections. According to the VP of Amazon Studios, Amazon will be introducing content that’s specific to the area, which could possibly open the door for original programming.