Tokyo-based Rakuten has agreed to acquire global video streaming platform Viki, based in Singapore and San Francisco.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Viki is a global TV and video site that brings primetime TV shows, movies, music videos and other premium video content to new audiences and opens up entirely new markets for content providers. Through its social TV and subtitling intellectual property, Viki’s community of viewers have crowdsourced subtitles in more than 160 languages and translated more than 400 million words to date
“Viki is a one-of-kind company with an entirely unique approach to video streaming that is truly global and truly engaging,” said Rakuten chairman and CEO, Hiroshi (Mickey) Mikitani.
“They are fast, agile, and highly mobile. Their smart and creative approach to bringing popular content to global audiences will enable Rakuten to move quickly into new markets around the world.”
“Our vision is very well aligned with Rakuten’s focus on building a borderless digital ecosystem. We’ve built a truly global TV platform, with and for the fans, allowing content owners to reach the world in any language,” added Razmig Hovaghimian, Viki CEO and co-founder,
“The Viki model has allowed us to unlock a massive torso of untapped demand. While viewers get to enjoy great entertainment they never knew existed anywhere, anytime and in their language, content owners get to reach a globally fragmented market, and increase the size of their target market multiple-fold through localisation. Focusing on both content providers and fans, has allowed us to reach traditional TV like ratings online, with top shows getting translated in more than 50 languages.”
Rakuten and Viki expect exponential growth in Viki’s primary revenue driver, selling advertising against its video content. Viki also syndicates select content and has the potential to launch new revenue models. At the same time, Viki can now leverage Rakuten’s 85 million registered users in Japan and deep digital commerce and media experience to grow its user base in Japan and Europe.
In 2012 Rakuten acquired Wuaki.tv, an Europe-based video-on-demand and streaming service, which recently began its international expansion beyond Spain by offering customers in the UK its premier movie titles catalogue and unique hybrid payment model.
Here is a video that explains how Viki works.