|Type of business||Subsidiary|
Type of site
|OTT media service|
|Headquarters||San Mateo, California|
Rakuten Viki is an American video streaming website. It streams videos similar to other services, but also allows users to subtitle content available in 200 languages as well as provides original programming. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, it has offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea.
The name Viki is a portmanteau of the words video and Wiki, drawing on the latter companies' use of volunteers for content management. The company won the Crunchie award for best international start-up company in January 2011.
Viki was founded in 2007 by Razmig Hovaghimian, Changseong Ho and Jiwon Moon. Funding for the company originally came from Neoteny Labs, a Singapore start-up fund headed by Joichi Ito, and from the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman.
The company moved to Singapore in 2008 to take advantage of government backing and the city-state’s role as a pan-Asian hub. In December 2010, Viki exited the beta phase of its software and made its services available to the general public. It was purchased by Rakuten in 2013.
In September 2011, Viki debuted a new iPhone app called Viki On-The-Go, allowing users to watch content on their smartphones. The company also partnered with Samsung Southeast Asia that year to develop an Android app. Viki.com drew 14 million unique views in August 2011. Viki raised $20 million from Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and BBC Worldwide in October of that year.
In May 2012, Viki announced deals with Warner Music Group, SEED Music Group of Taiwan, and LOEN Entertainment of South Korea, bringing thousands of music videos to the site. In that same month, BBC Worldwide announced an extension of its relationship with Viki, including a deal to work with the company on advertising.
In July 2012, Viki inked a non-exclusive deal with the Chinese social network Renren, in which Viki would provide a video site for the social network called VikiZone. The deal includes only a portion of the Viki catalog and is offered for free.
In the year following its acquisition by Rakuten, Viki went from about 22 million monthly active users with 10 million on mobile to 35 million monthly active users and 25 million mobile users.
The company has a list of partners for sourcing original content, including BBC Worldwide. The company has also signed distribution deals for its original content with Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo!, MSN, NBC, and A&E, as well as TVB in Hong Kong, SBS in South Korea, Fuji TV in Japan and Amedia in Russia.
Viki streams premium licensed content in a similar way that Hulu does in U.S. markets. The site then puts the content on one of its channels, and the content can be subtitled by community volunteers. Community members can subtitle their favorite videos in their preferred languages, under a Creative Commons license using Viki's subtitling technology, enabling individuals to collaborate globally, in dozens of languages at once. The subtitling software developed for the company allows many volunteers to translate a video concurrently in up to 160 languages. Viki also syndicates its shows with fan-generated subtitles to partners such as Hulu, Netflix, and Yahoo!, and receives fees and revenue from those distributors. Of the approximately 200 language subtitles available on the site, roughly 50 of these are vulnerable or endangered languages.
Viki has more than 100 original programs, including entertainment shows, drama and mini-series.