Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Netflix has been launched in Japan, Amazon Prime video will soon

On September 2nd, Netflix, an internet video streaming service started in Japan.

Nowadays, video streaming services with a fixed monthly cost are common. Hulu has been available in Japan since 2011. People with Amazon Japan Prime Membership will be able to access Amazon Prime Video from the end of this month.

This kind of services has an advantage that users can enjoy movies anywhere if online connection is alive. You can watch your favorite video using your smartphone. In Japan, many businesspersons take a train for commute. YouTube is their strong ally to kill the time on the train. Prepaid video streaming will join as an alternative.

One of the merits of Netflix Japan is that it offers some movies with 4K resolution. They consist around 4000*2000 pixels in each picture. It will be extremely beautiful, and match latest TV monitors.

Unfortunately, Netflix provides only a few items with 4K resolution. To utilize 4K products, users have to pay more money by month (1480 JPN vs. 980 JPN). I think there will be few people being willing to make a contract for 4K products unless more videos are provided.

I have tried Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video in Japan or England. A shared weak point of them is the difficulty in offering new films. Excepting few attractive contents, most of the movies they offer were created before a decade ago. If they offered latest films, streaming services and DVD/BD selling would cannibalize with each other. As a result, only people loving old movies are willing to continue the monthly contract after consuming some flagship contents.

Another problem is the difficulty of searching programs. In this kind of services, you will see some products that are recommended by the system based on your watching history. You can easily find some interesting film. On the other hand, it is difficult to grab the whole contents provided in the service. You can miss some contents of worth to watch unless you spontaneously input the search word.

I am not sure if Netflix will be successful in Japan. Japanese TV makers are considering to add the "Netflix" button on the TV remote controller. I hope it will not be out of service soon.


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