Photo/IllutrationToru Ota, right, executive director of Japan’s Fuji Television Network Inc., and Robert Franke, vice president of ZDF Enterprises, shake hands at Fuji Television Network in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on June 8. (Akiko Minato)

Japanese and German broadcasters plan to jointly create a TV drama series that will be aimed at worldwide broadcast and also be pitched to Internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Japan’s Fuji Television Network Inc. plans to produce a soccer-related drama series as a jointly funded project with ZDF Enterprises, a subsidiary of German public broadcaster ZDF.

The drama series “The Window,” delving into the behind-the-scenes jockeying of professional soccer, will detail 10 weeks of conflict over huge contracts involved in a transfer window for England’s Premier League.

A production company in Britain will start shooting the series next year, to air by the start of 2020. The series will be shot in English, and a British scriptwriter will be hired. Actors from Hollywood will be hired and an audition for Japanese actors is scheduled.

Fuji Television sought to secure large-scale production costs by working with foreign companies. Fuji is trying to compete on a global basis by making programming intended for the world market.

“Fuji Television, which is strong in the Asian market, and my company, influential in European countries, are complementing each other," said Robert Franke, vice president of ZDF Enterprises, emphasizing the merits of the partnership. "Together, we can gain more of an audience.”

In addition to offering the series to broadcasters around the world, it will also be marketed to Internet streaming services.

The two companies teamed up because they have common subjects to be shared.

The future of the respective domestic markets in Japan and Germany is uncertain with the declining birthrate and the fact that fewer young people are watching TV.

The Japanese government has been trying to market Japanese TV programs overseas as part of its “Cool Japan” initiative. But the effort has been primarily limited to pitching Japanese programming to only other Asian countries.

In the midst of this, leading Internet entertainment services have appeared.

For a Japanese broadcaster, the project, costing about 2 billion yen ($18 million) for 10 episodes in total, is on an extraordinarily massive scale.

“The world has entered the golden age of drama series," said Toru Ota, executive director of Fuji Television, who is known for making popular dramas such as “Tokyo Love Story” and “101st Marriage Proposal." "Now is the perfect chance to enter global markets.”

In the world market, Netflix and other entertainment services have joined in production of drama programming in rapid succession. Hulu and other online services broadcast “The Walking Dead,” a popular U.S. TV drama series.

Netflix created the original series “House of Cards,” which was the first drama series aired online to win an Emmy Award. The series was later broadcast on cable TV in some parts of the world.

The circulation of content beyond the borders between commercial TV and the Internet has just begun.

“I think that this joint project can be a steppingstone to improving the current situation for Japanese broadcasters, which have faced a sluggish growth of their audiences,” Ota said. “While marketing the drama to broadcasters in Asia, Europe and North America, we also have to challenge in the global market by teaming with other services such as Netflix and Amazon."