Viki, the global video site, has signed a deal with NBCUniversal (NBCU) that sees it license a number of the US broadcaster’s top entertainment programs for distribution across Southeast Asia. The agreement is similar to another that NBU inked with Amazon-owned LoveFilm earlier this month.
Users in the region, where Viki has a Singapore-based office, will have access to “hundreds of hours” of Hollywood content from NBCU, which will include reality TV shows like ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, drama such as ‘Law & Order’, science fiction titles like ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and cartoons that include the classic ‘Woody Woodpecker’. That’s in addition to Viki’s already diverse content selection from across the world.
Viki says that the glut of new programming will be made available to its users in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam from February 1. There’s no word on whether that list of markets will expand in due course, however. The new programs will be watchable via its main Viki.com site, Android and iOS mobile apps and via its regional partners, which include the popular MSN portal and a number of local telecom operators.
The service was started in December 2010 and has partnerships with Chinese social network Renren, MSN, YouTube, Hulu and others. Viki has more than 20 million users worldwide, and Southeast Asia remains a particular focus for the company, accounting for 20 percent of its user base. Its key differentiator from YouTube and premium sites is that Viki uses crowdsourced subtitles to help viewers anywhere in the world watch and understand any kind of video content.
The crowdsourced model has produced more than 300 million words of subtitles across 156 different languages. Those subs are used by other services too — including Hulu – and they allow Viki to strike licensing deals with a range of different content makers from across with the world without the fear that they will only be relevant to a slither of its users.
Viki broadened its focus into music in May 2012 when it agreed to deals with a number of record labels and agencies, most notably Warner Music, SEED Music Group of Taiwan and Korea’s LOEN.
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