With Netflix having already announced that they’re launching in Japan on September 2nd, Amazon has decided it’s not going to wait for its rival to gain a lead in the local market for streaming video services. The US internet shopping giant has announced it will be debuting its Prime Video service in Japan sometime this fall. Like Netflix’s service in the country, it’s still not clear what kind of programs will be available for streaming, however Amazon has promised the lineup will include popular US movies and TV shows, their award-winning originals, plus native Japanese content.
One area where Amazon’s Prime Video already has a leg up on Netflix is the pricing. Like in the US, Amazon’s streaming service will be included with the standard Prime subscription, which only costs ¥3900 (about $32) per year in Japan. This breaks down about $2.70 per month, which is much less than Netflix’s tiers, which will be between ¥650 ($5.40) and ¥1,450 ($12) per month.
In addition to the US, Prime Video has already seen successful launches of unlimited streaming in the UK and Germany. Unfortunately for both Amazon and Netflix, a big streaming service isn’t an automatic success in Japan. The new standard way of watching movies and TV in the US hasn’t really caught on in Japan yet, where watching standard TV broadcasts and DVD rentals are still the mainstream.
Hulu was one of the first streaming video services from the US to launch in Japan, and while it wasn’t a complete failure, it never gained wide appeal. Eventually the Japanese expansion was sold to a local TV broadcaster, and while it still exists under the Hulu name, program lineups consist of almost entirely the same domestic shows that are played on regular TV.