Internet service and marketing powerhouse Rakuten has acquired global video streaming service, Viki.
The Japanese-founded firm, which also operates the recently formed Rakuten Marketing sub brand; housing its established affiliate and retargeting firms, has not disclosed the terms or cost of the deal.
Video streaming website Viki, which was created in Singapore in 2010 and has millions of users, features on demand video streams and is powered by a volunteer community of avid fans, who submit and share content.
Rakuten and Viki expect exponential growth in Viki's primary revenue driver; selling advertising against its video content.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, said Viki has an entirely unique approach to video streaming that is ‘truly global and truly engaging’.
“They are fast, agile, and highly mobile, Mikitani said. “Their smart and creative approach to bringing popular content to global audiences will enable Rakuten to move quickly into new markets around the world.
“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."
The agreement to acquire Viki has been signed and Mikitani said the acquisition represents 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.
Social TV & Subtitles
Viki, which signed a deal with Universal Music Group in May this year to stream more than 7,500 music videos on Viki.com, claims to be the first and fastest platform for real-time subtitling and sharing of video. It has offices in San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo and Singapore.
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 also syndicates selected content and has the potential to launch new revenue models, Rakuten said. At the same time, Viki can now leverage Rakuten's 85 million registered users in Japan and its digital commerce and media experience, in order to grow its user base in Japan and Europe.
Back in 2012 Rakuten acquired Kobo, one of the world's fastest-growing eReading services. That same year, Rakuten welcomed Wuaki.tv, a Europe-based video-on-demand and streaming service. Wuaki.tv also recently began its international expansion beyond Spain, by offering customers in the UK its premier movie titles catalogue and unique hybrid payment model.
Rakuten said Viki perfectly complements Wuaki.tv's front-line strategy and extends Rakuten's digital content offering to include international primetime and mid-and long-tail content from leading broadcasters and distributors