Rakuten to purchase “Viki” video streaming site

In Other News - September 4th, 2013

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is set to purchase international streaming video site Viki.

According to reports, Rakuten and Viki agreed on $200 million for the buyout. Neither company has confirmed that figure, but Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani confirmed the acquisition.

“Our foundation is not only limited to e-commerce, but an intention to strengthen our ecosystem in Japan and worldwide,” he said in an interview.

“We have been looking into finding a global solution for video.”

Rakuten, known for its purchases of e-book business Kobo and Buy.com, has been agressively expanding globally over the last two years to compete with Amazon, a US multibillion dollar e-commerce company.

Its investment in Viki was dubbed as “exciting and innovative” by All Things D, which first reported the deal.

Viki, whose name comes from “video” and “wiki”, is a Singapore-based startup, offers streaming TV shows, music and movies from Korea, Venezuela, China and Japan.

“Community members subtitle their favorite videos into their preferred languages under a Creative Commons license using Viki’s subtitling technology, which enables thousands of fans around the world to collaborate in dozens of languages at once,” according to Viki’s website.

Mikitani said he “basically fell in love with the service.”

“We look at this as a hybrid of social network and a digital content distribution network that is unique and different from others… in a country-by-country approach,” Mikitani said.

“A multi-language video offering is one of smartest ways for us to expand.”

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: priceminister/Flickr