Asian content for the West

U.S. video streaming giant shops in Asia for multiple huge titles, according to Joanne Waage, Viki’s SVP, Partnership and Programming. She tells K. Dass The Legend of the Blue Sea was aired in the U.S. minutes after its debut in Korea with English subtitles.


AVOD SVoD The Legend of the Blue Sea The Walking Dead

Viki has brought millions of people to discover, watch and subtitle global primetime shows and movies in more than 200 languages. Together with its fans, Viki removes the language and cultural barriers that stand between great entertainment and fans everywhere.

U.S. is our biggest market, especially with K-Dramas and C-Dramas. We have Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese and a smattering of content from all around the world but our main drivers of consumption from 85% to 90% are from those categories. Our services are available all across the globe except China. It’s harder to penetrate into China but we do a lot of partnerships with people there and we bring Chinese content out of China as well. What is interesting is that Korean dramas are very popular but we are also seeing very strong growth in the Chinese content. China is doing an incredible job in raising the bar in the quality of their content, bringing in K-Dramas casts, using themes from other countries and improving the production quality. So, we’re seeing more and more people who love K-Dramas crossovers to C-Dramas.

50% of our consumers are not Asians. So they are not native to the content, meaning, we have to actually grow the interest in this new category of content that isn’t necessarily familiar. The theme and style are quite different from your typical American show that you might see today. From a purely programming strategy onsite, we are very specific in how we window content. We have AVOD and SVOD and we do not believe in putting everything behind the paywall nor believe that in order to introduce people to content, we have to make it available to them.

Sometimes, you don’t fall in love with it right away. I’ll use Ice fantasy as an example, it is a show I watched for the first 10 minutes and my son and I went to the Time Comments to include our remark. Timed Comments is a feature on Viki that’s not available elsewhere yet. It allows users to write as they are watching and say things like, “What do you think is going to happen?” or “Omg he is so hot!” etc. The Timed Comments are so interesting and engaging that it kept us watching the entire episode and by the time we were done, we wanted to see what happened next. So the unfamiliar combining with the familiar, something that can engage you a little while longer. As you start to watch more, you kind of start to understand the theme and soon become a fan.

The service is either free as in AVOD or you can buy SVOD. The difference between the two is obviously one is free but generally, it depends on the type of content, which is also part of our programming strategy, the only content that we window behind the paywall is content that we consider as the core viewers’ demand.



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