Video streaming site Viki, which allows users to write subtitles in over 160 languages, is expanding in China’s online video market by launching on Baidu, the country’s biggest search engine, with around 237 million monthly active users of its video service.
Over the past 18 months, Viki has been pushing aggressively in China’s online video market. Some of the recent alliances signed by Viki include content distribution partnerships with Renren (the Facebook of China), Sohu and LeTV to offer Chinese content in the rest of the world.
As part of this alliance, Viki will offer movies and shorter programs from the U.S., UK, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and ten other countries to Baidu video viewers in China.
Razmig Hovaghimian, CEO and co-founder of Viki, said he was encouraged to launch on Baidu after seeing the success of streaming popular sci-fi series “Falling Skies” across Renren, LeTV and Xunlei Kankan (video-on-demand sites).
For its part, Baidu has been pushing to sell more premium advertising, especially after it acquired PPS in May this year to create China’s largest online video platform as defined by number of mobile users and video viewing time.
“We knew we were onto something when we released the TNT sci-fi show ‘Falling Skies’ over the summer and it began receiving four times the ratings than it did in the US,” said Hovaghimian.
The show was the most searched U.S. series on Baidu Video, outranking “The Big Bang Theory,” “Vampire Diaries,” “Under the Dome” and “The Walking Dead.” In addition, “Falling Skies” generated more than 5.7 million posts on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.
“The show ranked number one on Baidu search results for US shows. We’re looking to replicate this success and build a pipeline of the best of global content for Chinese fans.” Viki on Baidu will launch with Falling Skies and hundreds of other titles on Thursday.
With over 25 million viewers a month, Viki is also looking to enter the Indian market. As for the competition from YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, Hovaghimian said there’s no direct rivalry.
“On many occasions, Viki has partnered with YouTube to stream its content and Viki shows can be found on our YouTube channels. We also have distribution deals with Netflix and Hulu – where we power their Korean dramas and other unique shows,” he said.
Viki crowdsources subtitling of movies and other shows in over 160 languages, and earns revenue by selling premium ads on its streaming video service. Three months ago, Viki was acquired by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten.