Netflix Heads for Japan’s Living Rooms This Year

In a bid to make it big on the world stage, Netflix is looking to accelerate expansion from the current 50 markets the streaming service is available in, up to 200 in the next two years. This is in order to remain competitive in the growing market for internet television. 

The rollout in Japan, which was estimated to target 36 million households with broadband internet connections, will follow expansion of Netflix service into Australia and New Zealand next month, according to the company.

“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 Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in a release.

Netflix promised a strong selection of Japanese television shows and films at launch, along with original content such as Marco Polo, Marvel's Daredevil and acclaimed documentary Virunga.

Netflix planned to open a regional office in Tokyo to foster alliances with consumer electronics makers as well as creators of films and television shows.

“People in Japan soon will have access to great entertainment from all over the world for a low monthly price, while our more than 57 million members will benefit from increased access to great Japanese films and TV shows,” said Gregory Peters, newly-promoted head of Netflix Japan.

Netflix subscribers can stream video content using smart TVs, tablet computers, smartphones, computers, and Internet-linked game consoles and set-top boxes.

Details on pricing and availability in Japan will be disclosed later in the year, Netflix said.

The expansion comes amid an increasing shift to internet-based on-demand television, with offerings from rivals such as Amazon, Time Warner's HBO and CBS, among others.

Netflix announced in January that it boosted membership to more than 57 million users at the end of 2014, a gain of 13 million. Profits jumped to US$266 million for the year on US$5.5 billion in revenue.