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Japanese telecom SoftBank will sell Netflix directly from devices at launch

Netflix gets the upper hand in Japan from telecom giant SoftBank

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When Netflix launches in Japan on September 2, it’ll have some major help from cell phone and internet giant SoftBank. Today, the video streamer announced a new partnership which will allow SoftBank’s 37 million cell phone customers to pay Netflix’s monthly fee directly through their SoftBank account in-store, online, or through major electronics retailers. The telecom giant will also begin pre-installing the Netflix app on its smartphones next month.

“Now, we have a shared dream to work together, SoftBank and Netflix, to find those amazing stories around the world, create new incredible experiences and deliver them to consumers around the globe and here in Japan,” said Netflix exec Greg Peters to the Japan Times.

The popular video streamer announced three monthly subscription options for Japanese customers: a standard definition, single stream “basic plan”  for 650 JPY (~$5.49), an HD “standard plan” for 950 JPY (~$8.02), and a 4K UHD four stream “premium” family plan for 1450 JPY (~$12.24).

Netflix’s launch in Japan comes as the streaming giant aims to reach “200 countries” by the end of next year. The streamer currently operates in 50 countries, according to Fortune, has tallied 65 million customers globally, and could reach 100 million subscribers by 2020. Japanese subscription video streaming competitors include Hulu (which has 1 million Japanese subscribers) as well as services from NTT Domoco, and SoftBank’s own Uula. SoftBank will be focusing its efforts on Netflix going forward, according to the Japan Times.

Netflix may also consider a content partnership with SoftBank in Japan, although it has already inked an original content deal with Fuji Television. According to Deadline, Fuji has a new version of reality series Terrace House and a “coming-of-age drama” Atelier (Underwear) planned to premiere on Netflix Japan at launch.

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