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.
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.