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Rakuten Viki strikes content partnership with China’s Tencent Video

Specialty Asian streaming platform Rakuten Viki has struck a deal with mainland China’s Tencent Video to carry a large slate of Chinese drama series.

Japanese-owned Rakuten Viki will on Monday launch a dedicated hub for the new shows branded as Tencent Video x WeTV. The zone will carry an initial 70-plus series.

Shows available at launch include “You Are My Glory,” “A Dream of Splendor” and “The Oath of Love.” The roster will be topped up with newer titles over the coming months.

Tencent Video is China’s largest streaming platform for long-form content with some 122 million paying subscribers when it last reported figures for the six month to the end of June 2022. Data from third party researcher Enlightenment, ranked “A Dream of Splendor” the most watched series in China in June.

The company has sought to expand video operations outside mainland China operating under the WeTV banner and in 2020 acquired assets from the now defunct pan-Asian streamer iflix.

WeTV and Chinese TV shows generally have enjoyed growing success in some Southeast Asian markets including Thailand and Indonesia. The deal with Rakuten-Viki may allow Tencent Video to play its content where the WeTV operation is not fully supported or localized.

Rakuten Viki operates a hybrid business model, combining free ad-supported streaming with limits on some content and tiered subscriptions starting from $4.99 per month. It claims more than 55 million fans in over 190 countries, a mix of free users, paying subscribers and users of its Soompi entertainment news community.

Viki also develops and produces its own originals, many of which get “fan-subs” or user-generated sub-titles.

“Rakuten Viki has millions of highly engaged users across the globe who are big fans of Chinese and Asian content. This makes them a perfect partner in expanding our reach to new global audiences so viewers can get familiar with and immerse themselves in titles from our extensive library,” said Jeff Han, VP of Tencent Video in a prepared statement.

“Through this partnership, we’re bringing a treasure trove of programming to our platform that will offer our users some of the hottest Chinese content all in one place,” said Sarah Kim, chief content officer at Rakuten Viki. Variety

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