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SoftBank launches OTT service

Japanese internet giant SoftBank has launched an OTT pay service for Japan’s smartphone and tablet owners.

BBTV Next went live today offering subscribers the choice of three channels, including nets from Disney and BBC World News, out of a line-up of 12 for ¥1,058 (US$9.11) a month.

SoftBank subsidiary TV Bank is operating the service, which includes features such as allowing users to begin watching a programme on one device and finish on another.

TV Bank plans to increase BBTV Next’s channel offer to more than 50 by spring next year.

This comes after broadcaster Nippon TV acquired the assets of Hulu Japan earlier this year, and as players vie for position in Japan’s on-demand market.

SoftBank, meanwhile, has been investing in international film and TV since making a mint from its stake in e-commerce giant Alibaba, which pocketed it tens of billions of dollars.

It eyed a stake in DreamWorks Animation before spending US$250 million on a piece of Warner Bros.-affiliated Hollywood studio Legendary Pictures. It also bought SVOD platform DramaFever, which is also US-based.