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Japanese SVOD Service Wuaki.tv Rebranding as Rakuten.tv

19 Jul, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Japanese e-commerce behemoth Rakuten is rebranding its wuaki.tv subscription streaming video service to Rakuten.tv.

The SVOD service has about 4 million subscribers across 12 countries, including 40% in Spain. The announcement comes as Rakuten begins a four-year, €250 million ($288 million) title soccer sponsorship with Spain’s FC Barcelona (a.k.a Barça), whose stars include Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez.

Rakuten.tv’s Spanish CEO Jacinto Roca, who wants the streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, reportedly wants the theatrical window to be reduced to 30 days.

The service is also delving into original content production, with its first movie to debut at the end of the year. It remains to be seen if Rakuten will match Netflix and Amazon’s multi-billion-dollar spending on original content. Netflix plans to release 40 original movies this year.

Tokyo-based Rakuten generated nearly $1.9 billion in first-quarter revenue and $223 million in net income.

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