BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, today announced an extension of its relationship with social, online TV site Viki. On the heels of a strategic investment it made last year — BBC Worldwide participated in a $20 million Series B round that also included SK Planet, Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Neoteny Labs and others — and a content licensing deal, now BBC Worldwide will also working on advertising for Viki.
Through its BBC Advertising arm, the BBC will be pooling together ad inventory from its own BBC Worldwide operations with that of Viki, which is accessed in over 200 countries and offers TV shows, movies and other premium content in over 150 languages — with those translations powered by its user base. The deal will mean that BBC can add further scale to its own advertising operations to target a class of larger advertisers looking to reach that international audience on a wide scale.
The agreement covers Viki’s operations in Asia, Europe and the Americas, the companies said, and has already resulted in one successful campaigns trialled in South East Asia for Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble and Samsung.
Viki provides a kind of open-source approach to world-wide video consumption: it gets the rights to TV shows, films and music videos and then volunteers in its community use Viki’s software to provide subtitles for that content. That content is then broadcast online, on mobile and via smart TVs. Viki says that to date some one billion videos have been viewed on its service, with some 200 million words translated.
But that is a very long-tail approach to online video — and while Razmig Hovaghimian, CEO and co-founder of Viki, says its viewership is growing “by millions each month,” that is happening across a massive footprint that might otherwise be difficult to sell against for advertising. Working with another partner like the BBC can help consolidate some of that audience in different national markets.
On the other side of the equation — the content side — Viki has amassed an impressive list of partners for sourcing the original content. In addition to BBC Worldwide, it also features Korean dramas, Japanese Anime, Spanish novellas, Bollywood, and independent films, including distribution deals with Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo and MSN; and from NBC, A&E; TVB in Hong Kong, SBS in South Korea, Fuji TV in Japan and Amedia in Russia.