The technology startup world is discussing about a major acquisition today: Japanese e commerce giant Rakuten has confirmed that it will acquire Viki, a global video streaming platform that crowdsources translated subtitles. According to AllThingsD, the acquisition is reported to be worth $200 million.
Founded in Singapore, Viki has relies on fans globally to translate movie subtitles. In less than three years, Viki’s community of 22 million volunteer-fans has subtitled more than 400 million words.
Viki has also raised a total of $24.3million in publicly disclosed funding, from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Omidyar Network, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups and Neoteny Labs.
Rakuten to bring the fight to Amazon and Netflix
The acquisition of Viki by Rakuten is not without its precedence: in the last two years, Rakuten acquired European video streaming platform Wuaki.tv. The acquisition of Viki reinforces the fact that Rakuten is positioning its $16 billion Internet services ecosystem as a worthy competitor to tech giants Amazon and Netflix.
The acquisition of Viki further reinforces the fact that video is rising as the next medium of content distribution. Twitter and Facebook both recognized this and went bullish on the future of video: earlier this year, Twitter released its video app Vine, and Facebook followed suit with its Instagram video.
Video, and specifically video with a social and/or mobile spin, are hot tickets at the moment. Why? For consumer apps and websites, video provides an attractive user acquisition channel as these users end up spending more time on their networks, and possibly laying the groundwork for brand-friendly advertising.
The acquisition of Viki definitely increases the relative attractiveness of video content platform as a mid to long term portfolio strategy to investors.
Rakuten acquires global TV site Viki, reinforces importance of video content platform – Click To Tweet