The service will be subscription-only and will be available across multiple platforms and devices, as Hulu Plus is in the United States.
The company has long eyed expansion into international markets, with rumors of a launch in the UK or Canada swirling as far back as 2008. While plans to make the service available in Europe or elsewhere never came to fruition, it will finally be available outside the United States soon, starting with Japan.
Companies specializing in content distribution often have a hard time expanding internationally due to complex regulations and expenses related to licensing and ownership rights of that content. Due to these issues, music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have been slow to launch in new markets and Hulu competitor Netflix is only available in the United States and Canada. The fact that we've had to wait this long for Hulu to launch outside the U.S. is thus not all together shocking.
"In Japan, we ... see an unfulfilled market need with respect to premium feature film and TV content, and very favorable environmental factors to a service like ours, including extensive broadband penetration, smart phone and other internet-connected device ubiquity, and strong consumer interest," Hulu said in a blog post.
The company has assembled a team based at its new headquarters in Tokyo to get started preparing for the launch, which is expected later this year.