Rakuten-owned video site Viki announces branded channels, a big step towards making more money

Rakuten-owned video site Viki announces branded channels, a big step towards making more money

Viki, the global video service that was bought by Japan’s Rakuten for $200 million in September, has taken a big step towards accelerating its income after it introduces brand channels for select partners – albeit initially for free.

The company says the channels are available for “top broadcasters and content providers,” and its launch partners using the feature include large TV broadcasters in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Venezuela.

The partners will see their content featured on custom landing pages and feature spots, which will begin to go live from next week. In addition, they will also get access to a range of audience analytics to help their hone in how Viki’s 24 million monthly users are interacting with their content.

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Though the channels are initially available for free, it’s quite clear where the Singapore-based company is headed with the move.

Viki currently draws revenue from in-stream ads and by licensing its uniquely subtitled content to the likes of Netflix and Hulu, but, at the time of last month’s acquisition, the company admitted it was struggling to turn in profit. That makes a move towards further revenue generation more than likely in the near future, and it is easy to image how it could make money from brand channels.

Viki co-founder and CEO Razmig Hovaghimian didn’t mention the potential to charge, instead focusing on the value they can bring content partners:

We’re excited to offer even more reasons for global primetime to be on Viki. We’re launching Brand Channels for select broadcasters and studios that are already in our network and plan to make it available for others in the coming weeks and months.

Hovaghminian recently told us that the company is evaluating a series of new revenue models and, with Viki retaining a large scope of independence under the ownership of Rakuten, it seems it will push on with that plan.

Cash aside, branded channels are likely to encourage more broadcasters to the platform which, in turn, can help boost the service’s presence and visibility worldwide as it looks to become ‘the global Netflix’.

The company made the announcement from the MIPCOM multimedia event, taking places in France this week, where it is coming together with Rakuten others multimedia services — Kobo, Wuaki.tv and Showtime — for the first time.

Headline image via Viki

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