What is Viki?
Viki is an on-demand video streaming service that promotes and distributes Asian content worldwide. It differs from its competitors in the video streaming market by offering a community-oriented approach that has made it popular with young consumers.
Viki’s programming — which largely comes from China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan — is subtitled and translated into over 150 languages by a team of crowdsourced viewers. These community subtitlers can also interact online to contribute to the Viki community and provide comments throughout shows that guide subscribers’ viewing. The service encourages users that aren’t native speakers to study Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with its Learn mode.
Viki’s content is largely sourced from Asian distribution and production firms, but the service has also branched out into producing original programming. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2007. Japanese eCommerce and online retailing company, Rakuten, acquired the service in 2013.
Viki plans and pricing
|Number of TV shows and films||149 shows and 16 movies|
Viki supported devices
Viki is available on mobile phones, tablets, and streaming devices that are compatible with its app, including:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- Android TV
- Apple phones and tablets
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
What to watch on Viki
Viki’s content is largely Chinese, with 115 of its 149 TV shows coming from China. The service also has 6 shows from Japan — of which 5 are about Spanish footballer Andres Iniesta — 26 shows from South Korea, and 2 from Taiwan. Its content is organized into the following categories:
- Costume & Period
- Crime & Mystery
- Korean Drama
- Romantic Comedy
- Thriller & Suspense
Viki’s first venture into original programming was Dramaworld, which focuses on an American college student obsessed with a Korean drama and its lead male star — the show was billed as the first joint American-Korean TV series. The success of Dramaworld led to a partnership with Skybound, headed by the production team behind The Walking Dead. This resulted in the Korean show Five Year, which focuses on the lives of a group of people that learns a meteor is on a path to hit the Earth in five years’ time.
Another original show, When You Call My Name, is the most popular amongst Viki’s viewers, with a 9.8 out of 10 rating. The documentary sees American and Korean music collide as K-pop band MONSTA X teams up with Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Gallant. K-pop-driven entertainment ranks high on users’ top shows, with series like Shindong’s Kick Service, Shook, Up10tion, and Please!.
Other highly-rated shows include the 9.6 out of 10-rated Chinese drama Love Me If You Dare, which is about a psychologist who has the ability to get inside the minds of violent criminals to solve the police department’s most difficult cases. Another popular Chinese show is the 9.4 out of 10-rated My Mr. Mermaid, which focuses on a swimmer returning to competitive action four years after being wrongly accused of doping.
Viki only has 16 movies, of which the most popular is Chinese film The Great Hypnotist. The 2014 thriller, which is about a psychiatrist who gets more than he bargained for after taking on a new patient that can see ghosts, has a 9.4 out of 10 rating from Viki users. Other popular full-length features include costume and period film The Palace, which focuses on a maid during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty, and Korean action movie Romantic Warriors, about a young brother and sister who set out on a quest to find a better life.
The community element of Viki is one of the service’s selling points. It has a range of content curated by users in its Fan Collections section, which includes 640 viewer-made show playlists. The service also recommends content to users, with collections like Best Crime & Thriller, If You Loved Parasite…, Love & Fantasy, Love Is In The Air, Our Favorite Actors, and Viki Celebrates Women.
Viki’s content can be downloaded onto mobile phones or tablets and watched offline. The number of movies or shows that can be downloaded is dictated by the amount of space available on the user’s device. Viki does not publicly reveal how many simultaneous streams it provides.
The Viki features an appealing design. Content lists are organized in a grid format containing images of the show, the country they were made in, and a user rating.
The final cut
Viki is the go-to streaming service for anyone who loves Asian TV drama and entertainment. It is packed with Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese documentaries, movies, and series. The service has a great community-led approach that differentiates it from other options in the streaming service market, with users providing recommendations, translations, and more. The service offers new subscribers a free seven-day trial.
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