Hulu recently made its debut in Japan. But, unlike its U.S.-based service, there won’t be a free version. Subscribers pay ¥1,480 per month — that’s around $19 at current exchange rates — and, for now, the only non-paid viewing offered is in the form of a first-month trial subscription.
This initial foray outside the U.S. comes after some amazing success. Hulu made $240 million in cold, hard profit last year and, despite a few potential growing pains, it looks like next year has the potential to be even better. But can Hulu make it big in Japan? Sure. If you go to any video store in Japan (yes, they still have them there), you will see rack after rack devoted to popular U.S. television shows. Hulu’s price is a fraction of the price of a cable subscription — and there is no cable box, satellite dish or descrambler to set up. Put all that together with the second-best Internet infrastructure on the planet and you would seem to have a recipe for success.