×

Rakuten Viki Inks Streaming Deals for Japanese Shows From Nippon TV, Asahi TV

Rakuten Viki, a streaming provider specializing in Asian TV shows and movies, has reached deals with major Japanese broadcasters Nippon TV and Asahi TV to bring a collection of their shows to audiences outside the country.

The collection of new shows coming to Rakuten Viki under the pacts include 10 series from Nippon TV and six from Asahi TV.

The titles from Asahi TV, tentatively scheduled to premiere in the first quarter of 2019, are “Holiday Love,” “Adult High School,” “Anino Dating Agency,” “Age Harassment,” “Sumika Sumire” and “Good-bye, Enari-kun.”

Of the 10 titles acquired from Nippon TV, five are now available on Viki.com: “Overprotected Kahoko” (pictured above), “Caution, Hazardous Wife,” “Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa,” “A Girl’s Breakfast” and “Frankenstein’s Love.” In addition, five more from Nippon TV are coming soon to the platform: “May I Blackmail You?,” “SWIM!,” “Tokyo Tarareba Girls,” “Pretty Proofreader” and “Your Home is My Business!”

“These shows are a great fit for our platform, which has a proven ability to build communities around fandoms of content from around the world,” Sarah Kim, SVP of content and partnerships for Rakuten Viki.

Popular on Variety

Viki has specialized in K-drama programming, and Kim said there is “a lot of crossover among fans of Japanese and Korean dramas… Since a majority of our fans are avid K-drama fans, the J-drama stories resonate well with this passionate audience.”

For the shows from Nippon TV and Asahi TV, Rakuten Viki has streaming rights outside of Asia, mostly in the Americas and Europe, while some are also available in India and Oceania.

Titles on Viki are available to watch free with ads. Viki’s ad-free, HD service regularly costs $49.99 annually in the U.S. Viki Pass Plus, which includes access to Kocowa’s Korean programming, is regularly $99.99 per year (currently available in a special promo for $59.99 per year).

All told, Viki now offers more than 2,000 shows in the U.S., spanning content from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China. Worldwide, Viki has over 17 million registered users.

Asked whether Rakuten Viki is looking to negotiate rights for titles that had previously been exclusively available in the U.S. on DramaFever — the K-drama service that Warner Bros. Digital Networks shut down in October — Kim said “we’re always looking to onboard more K-drama content, especially those that will resonate well with our audiences within the romance and romantic comedy genres.” However, she declined to identify specific shows Viki might be seeking to license.

Over the past year, Viki also has released popular classics from Japan’s SPO Entertainment, including: “You’re My Pet – Kimi Wa Petto,” “Hakuouki SSL: Sweet School Life” and “I Am Reiko Shiratori! – Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu!”

“We are actively identifying other markets in Asia and other regions from which content that share similar traits might be a strong fit for our platform,” Kim said. “We are also exploring further co-productions with companies beyond Korea.”

The Japanese television shows arriving to the Viki platform will be subtitled by the site’s fan community, which has already translated content into more than 200 languages.

Rakuten Viki also is kicking off a Japanese content “sub-a-thon” for its subtitling community. The contest will let users compete with other teams and earn points for exclusive perks by subtitling the Japanese TV shows. Additionally, the Viki platform’s Learn Mode language-learning feature, which is available directly on the video player, will now let fans learn Japanese while watching TV shows.

Rakuten, a diversified Japanese Internet services company, acquired Viki in 2013.

Pictured above: “Overprotected Kahoko” from Nippon TV

More Digital

  • Vudu

    NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Walmart's Vudu

    Comcast’s NBCUniversal is looking to add some Vudu into its streaming-video mix. The media conglomerate is in talks to buy Vudu, the Walmart-owned entertainment rental, download and free-streaming service, sources confirm to Variety. It’s unclear what the terms of the pact would be or the timing. News of NBCU’s interest in Vudu was first reported [...]

  • Tubi

    Fox in Talks to Acquire Free-Streaming Service Tubi for Over $500 Million (Report)

    Fox Corp. is in discussions about acquiring Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service, in a deal worth more than $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources. With Tubi, Rupert Murdoch’s TV broadcasting and cable company would be adding a dedicated streaming component — offering over 20,000 older TV shows and [...]

  • Zombies 2 Disney Channel

    How Disney Channel's 'Zombies 2' Production Team Made Monsters Kid-Friendly

    Traditionally spooky creatures like zombies and werewolves get the Disney treatment in “Zombies 2,” the follow-up to the 2018 hit TV-movie musical of the same name. While the undead have now assimilated into the community of Seabrook, they’re confronted by a new set of outsiders: werewolves. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly return as Zed and [...]

  • Baby Yoda - The Child Animatronic

    Hasbro's Adorable Baby Yoda Animatronic Toy Is Already Sold Out on Disney's Online Store

    The Force remains strong for toys based on Baby Yoda, the breakout star of Disney Plus original series “The Mandalorian.” Less than a day after becoming available for pre-order, Hasbro’s new $59.99 Baby Yoda animatronic toy is no longer available on Disney’s official online store: As of Friday morning, Shop Disney listed it as “sold [...]

  • BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday

    BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday Playlist Rebrand

    Spotify has launched a global rebrand of its popular New Music Friday playlist, which this week features BTS, The Weeknd, Noah Cyrus, Trippie Redd, Kenny Chesney, Rei Ami and others. The revamped playlist, which has 43 versions worldwide, has more than 3.5 million followers in the US and eight million globally. New elements include a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content