Markets

Viki Strikes Deals for 50-Plus Korean and Chinese Dramas, Brings Back Some DramaFever Content (EXCLUSIVE)

Global TV streaming service Rakuten Viki has struck new licensing deals with CJ ENM and JTBC, two major South Korean entertainment companies. Under the deals, Viki will add dozens of Korean and Chinese dramas to its catalog, including some that became unavailable to U.S. audiences when Warner Bros. shut down its Korean drama streaming service DramaFever last year.

Some of the shows covered by the deals that were previously on DramaFever include “My ID is Gangnam Beauty,” Misty” and “Miss Hammurabi.” In addition, Viki will also add all-new content from both partners, including shows like “Melting Me Softly,” “Her Private Life,” “Sky Castle” and “The Wind Blows.” (See below for a full list of titles.) Also included in the package is “Heirs,” the first show that was co-produced by DramaFever.

DramaFever had been the premier streaming service for Korean dramas in the U.S. until Warner Bros. unexpectedly pulled the plug on the service last year. At the time, the company said that the move was prompted by “business reasons,” and happening “in light of the rapidly changing marketplace for K-drama content.” The latter was a thinly veiled reference to big streaming services like Netflix discovering Korean dramas for their audience, which has included massive investments into original content.

However, Viki CEO Sam Wu told Variety this week that he wasn’t too worried about competition from the big guys. “Having the big streaming services make movements in Korean and Chinese drama only validates that this is a growing and powerful market,” he said. “We know that international TV is big, and are happy to be the largest provider of international TV, especially from Asia, in the U.S. and around the world.”

Viki was founded as a streaming platform for international TV in 2007, and acquired by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten 2013. Wu told Variety that the service now has a catalog of 1,100 shows, totaling some 20,000 hours of content. “Roughly two-thirds of our current catalog is Korean dramas,” he added.

In addition to licensing titles, Viki may also produce some of its own content in the future, he suggested. “We have gone down the route of producing our own original content before, and that is not off the table in the future,” Wu said.

Below is a full list of titles added to Viki under the two new deals:

New titles licensed from JTBC:

“Flower Crew : Joseon Marriage” (2019)
“Sky Castle” (2018)
“Clean With Passion for Now” (2018)
“Legal High” (2019)
“Radiant” (2019)
“Welcome to Waikiki 2” (2019)
“Beautiful World” (2019)
“The Wind Blows” (2019)
“Moment of Eighteen” (2019)
“Melo is My Nature” (2019)
“Ask Us Anything” (2015)
“Please Take Care of My Refrigerator” (2014)
“I’m Real Song Joong Ki” (2011)
“Real Mate in Cairns, Australia” (2013)
“Traveler” (2019)
“My Mad Beauty 3” (2019)
“Try It” (2019)

New titles licensed from CJ ENM:

“Melting Me Softly” (2019)
“The Great Show” (2019)
“Hotel de Luna” (2019)
“Her Private Life” (2019)
“He is Psychometric” (2019)
“Search: WWW” (2019)
“Touch Your Heart” (2019)
“Watcher” (2019)
“When The Devil Calls Your Name” (2019)
“Kill It” (2019)
“Mr. Temporary” (2019)
“The Crowned Clown” (2019)
“What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” (2018)
“Encounter” (2018)

Titles that were previously available on DramaFever:

“Personal Taste” (2010, MBC)
“My Sassy Girl” (2017, SBS)
“Tree in the River” (2018, Sohu TV) – Chinese
“King is not Easy” (2017, Tencent) – Chinese
“Heirs” (2013, SBS)
“Love Cell” – Seasons 1 and 2 (2014, 2015, iHQ, Inc.)
“Guardian: The Lonely and the Great God” (2016, tvN)
“1% of Something” (2016, Godin Media)
“My Secret Romance” (2017, Godin Media)
“The Package” (2017, JTBC)
“Misty” (2018, JTBC)
“Welcome to Waikiki” (2018, JTBC)
“Sketch” (2018, JTBC)
“Miss Hammurabi” (2018, JTBC)
“My ID is Gangnam Beauty” (2018, JTBC)
“Beauty Inside” (2018, JTBC)
“The Third Charm” (2018, JTBC)
“Thirty but Seventeen” (2018, SBS)
“Devilish Joy” (2018, iHQ, Inc.)

More from Variety

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Latest Markets Videos