Rakuten Internet Services Company Acquires Viki Streaming Site

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Global streaming site currently hosts more than 25 anime series/films

The Japanese internet services company Rakuten announced on Monday that it has acquired the global streaming platform Viki. Rakuten did not disclose the terms of the deal in its press release. However, the All Things D website reported on Sunday citing anonymous sources that Rakuten acquired the company for US$200 million.

Viki CEO and co-founder Razmig Hovaghimian said of the deal, "Our vision is very well aligned with Rakuten's focus on building a borderless digital ecosystem ... 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." Rakuten noted that it expects to see exponential growth in Viki's primary source of revenue — selling advertising for its video content.

The Viki streaming site, which currently has 50 employees and offices in San Francisco, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo, launched in December 2010. The company uses crowd-sourcing from its community users to create subtitles for its video content in different languages. The Viki community, which has more than 22 million users, has created subtitles for videos in more than 160 languages. Viki's investors include Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Neoteny Labs, SK Telecom, SingTel, BBCWorldwide, and 500 StartUps.

Viki began streaming anime in 2012 when it revealed that it would stream Leiji Matsumoto's new television anime series Ozma worldwide as it aired. The site then collaborated with Right Stuf to license The Rose of Versailles television anime series in 2012. Currently, the website is streaming more than 25 anime television series and films, including many based on Osamu Tezuka's works like Black Jack, Astro Boy, and The New Adventures of Kimba The White Lion.

Viki also streams live-action Japanese and Korean drama series including the Korean adaptation of Yoko Kamio's Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) manga.

Source: Variety

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