Nintendo has announced a partnership with Japanese company Dentsu to distribute original streaming video programming via the Wii, with a 2009 launch confirmed in Japan, and an eye towards a later Western launch.
According to an official Nintendo statement translated by
the AFP news service, the company's partnership with advertising firm Dentsu will include some ad-supported but free videos, and some pay-to-watch videos.
The companies particularly announced: "Nintendo and Dentsu shall use the environment surrounding the Wii so that living rooms with Wii-ready TVs would become more of a fun area for communication among families and friends."
Analysts have been discussing this expansion possibility for some time -- a recent Gamasutra-published opinion piece
from The Diffusion Group noted: "In order for the Wii to remain competitive in the long-term, Nintendo must enable Wii-based... video services of some kind."
Interestingly, Nintendo is allowing multiple approaches to the problem, with Japanese firm Fujisoft already launching Minna-no Theater Wii (Everyone's Theater for Wii)
in Japan for WiiWare on January 27th.
This pay-per-view service "enables people to enjoy video content any time at home by video streaming playback on Wii," and will cost 100 to 400 Wii points ($1 to $4) per video. However, it appears that the Nintendo and Dentsu partnership may be the higher profile one.