Viki acquires Korean fan site Soompi

Singapore-based global streaming platform Viki.com has acquired Korean fan community site Soompi from Crunchyroll.

Soompi has been around since 1998 as a community site for fans of K-pop and Korean TV dramas. It will keep its branding and domain following the Viki acquisition, which reportedly cost just under $10m.

Owned by Japan’s Rakuten, Viki streams TV shows from around the world, including Korea, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan and Turkey, with fans working together to provide subtitling in many languages. It recently signed a deal with Beijing-based Huala Baina Film & TV, which gives it access to Chinese dramas such as A Dream Of Red Mansions and We Love You, Mr Jin.

“Since Viki is made possible by the passion of their community, it makes sense for Soompi, the original K-pop community site, to join hands with them in this new adventure,” Soompi told its fans following the acquisition.

Crunchyroll is an anime-focused streaming service, owned by Peter Chernin and AT&T’s joint venture Otter Media. It acquired Soompi in 2014, which appeared to tie in with the company’s launch of a Korean drama streaming site, Kdrama.com, but the service struggled to compete with Viki and the SoftBank Corp-owned DramaFever, which also streams Korean content.

Earlier this month, Otter Media launched a new brand, Ellation, which will act as an umbrella company for its online video services. Headed by former YouTube executive Tom Pickett, Ellation will oversee Crunchyroll, Creativebug, Fullscreen and the launch of other multichannel networks.