Rakuten Viki Bows North American SVOD Platform, Adds Asian Movie Sales

Rakuten Viki, an SVOD platform featuring Asian content, March 22 announced it is introducing a new transactional video-on-demand movie rental service for the North American market. The TVOD platform affords subscribers earlier access to new movie releases, and is available via desktop browser, Roku, Amazon Firestick, Apple TV+, Android TV, Chromecast, and on mobile devices.

The $4.99/$9.99 SVOD platform is launching in the U.S. with the debut of two Korean films: Josée as an exclusive and New Year Blueswhich released in December and February respectively.

South Korean romance ‘Josee’

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“With the launch of TVOD, viewers can quickly and easily access films … that they can then watch anytime, anywhere and at their own convenience,” Sarah Kim, SVP of content and partnerships, said in a statement. “It’s also a way to watch in-demand, exclusive content that isn’t too hard on the wallet.”

Josée, which will be exclusive to Rakuten Viki, is a romantic drama film based on a Japanese short story, Josee: The Tiger and the Fish, written by Seiko Tanabe. It was directed and written by Kim Jong-Kwan and stars actress Han Ji-min (One Spring Night, Familiar Wife) as Josée and actor Nam Joo-hyuk (Start-Up, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo) as Lee Young-seok.

New Year Blues follows the lives of four couples who must each overcome different fears and problems as they face the beginning of a new year. The movie was directed by Hong Ji Young and stars Kim Kang Woo, Yoo In Na (Goblin), Yoo Yeon Seok (Hospital Playlist, Mr. Sunshine), Lee Yun Hee, Lee Dong Hwi (Reply 1988), and Chen Du Ling.

TVOD is the latest service addition to Rakuten Viki, which showcases a vast collection of more than 1,700 TV shows and movies from Korea, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand that are accessible for free or through a subscription.

Rakuten Viki’s library includes a myriad of movies, romantic comedies, K-dramas and variety shows both current and catalog, with many available the day after they air in their origin country. Titles include Korean zombie thriller Train to Busan, Chinese romantic comedy Go Go Squid!, popular K-Drama True Beauty, and hit K-pop survival show “I-Land.”

Rakuten Viki also houses a number of Korean shows that inspired U.S. TV series, including “The Good Doctor,” which served as the basis for the same-named series on ABC, and “King of Masked Singer,” which served as a model for one of the hottest U.S. shows of 2020, “The Masked Singer.”