Rakuten, one of the world’s largest internet services companies, has signed an agreement to acquire global video streaming platform Viki. The acquisition is claimed to represent a significant step forward for Rakuten as it continues to add to its digital content offerings and launch its internet services ecosystem into new markets.
Viki’s business model creates new value for a global audience, Rakuten said. 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.
Rakuten chairman and CEO, Hiroshi (Mickey) Mikitani, said: “Viki is a one-of-kind company with an entirely unique approach to video streaming that is truly global and truly engaging. 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.”
“There are a striking number of synergies and shared philosophies between our two businesses; the Viki model is built on a powerful community, focused on removing the language barriers that have traditionally trapped great content inside geographical borders. Since our foundation, Rakuten’s focus too has been to open up great services, content and goods to a global community. Viki is a perfect complement to Rakuten’s joint philosophies of Empowerment and Shopping IS entertainment.”
Razmig Hovaghimian, Viki CEO and co-founder, said: “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.”
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.
“With Rakuten, we can now focus on building an entertainment ecosystem that also seamlessly allows viewers and content partners to jump across platforms, and interact with relevant Rakuten products and services seamlessly. I am thrilled to enter our next phase of growth as part of the Rakuten family, creating a service that competes with the largest industry players.”