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

We are trying to elevate the Chinese content vertically for a number of reasons. Number one, we believe that you can’t solely rely on anyone grouping. There are different users, the quality of the Chinese content is incredible and in some cases, the themes are more familiar to the Western audience than the Korean. We see this as a vertical market that we can promote further. This is why partners work with us because they know that we are actually developing content beyond the diaspora and popularise it much more broadly. Hence, with our windowing strategy and our subscription service, we don’t put the Chinese content behind the paywall at all because we are trying to build an audience around it. We want people to be familiar with it. For the subscription service, it’s only USD$ 4.99 and we will be fine-tuning our pricing by region soon.

We are thinking of lowering prices in markets like Latin America or Southeast Asia. We have yet to decide on the appropriate price for those markets. We are looking at a tiered plan as well because we are so fan-based. If you look carefully, we don’t dub, it is all subtitles and, we created the software to allow people to crowd source subtitles. We were probably the first to do that. It’s a big part of Viki; let’s take The Legend of the Blue Sea for example. It’s a huge title right now on Viki. Viki received it about midnight or 1-2am U.S. time which is just after the show was aired in Korea.

Our subtitling community gets on board immediately translating it to English first. They work round the clock all over the world and it’s completely organic but we do have a group of people who kind of manage the community. The team answers the questions, they develop the tools they desire, and they create programmes that encourage more people to come on board to subtitle also.

We have also launched our first original series called Drama World which won at the Seoul Drama Awards and a few other awards as well. Drama World is a web series by Viki. Through our partnership with IHQ, we produced five original web series in 2016. We are currently working on a project with Skybound Entertainment which is the creators of The Walking Dead. We have plans to produce a broadcast quality K-Drama which would probably air in early 2018. It’s called Five-year, it is a huge project.



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