Tokyo and San Francisco – Rakuten, Inc., one of the world’s largest internet services companies, has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire global video streaming platform Viki. The acquisition represents a significant step forward for Rakuten as it continues to add to its digital content offerings and launch its internet services ecosystem into new markets. Viki CEO and co-founder Razmig Hovaghimian said that Viki operates independently and that there will be no changes to manpower.

Viki is a global TV and video site that brings primetime TV shows, movies, music videos and other video content to new audiences and opens up new markets for content providers. Through its social TV and subtitling intellectual property, Viki’s community of viewers have crowdsourced subtitles in more than 160 languages and translated more than 400 million words to date.

Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi (Mickey) Mikitani, commented on the deal:

“Viki is a one-of-kind company with an entirely unique approach to video streaming that is truly global, truly engaging, and is going to completely disrupt the industry and the legacy players. Their smart approach to bringing popular content to global audiences will enable Rakuten to move quickly into new markets around the world.”

“There are a striking number of synergies and shared philosophies between our two businesses; the Viki model is built on a powerful community, focused on removing the language barriers that have traditionally trapped great content inside geographical borders. Since our foundation, Rakuten’s focus too has been to open up great services, content and goods to a global community. Viki is a perfect complement to Rakuten’s joint philosophies of Empowerment and Shopping IS entertainment.”

Hovaghimian adds: