The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten today announced it acquired the Spanish streaming and video on demand startup, Wuaki.tv. Founded in 2009, Wuaki.tv is headquartered in sunny Barcelona and offers premium content over the Internet directly to Smart TVs. The young company has existing content distribution agreements with Hollywood majors as well as local studios, and partnership agreements with leading TV manufacturers to incorporate its technology into their televisions. This recent purchase of Wuaki.tv is Rakuten’s fourth European acquisition in just two years. Rakuten enters the Spanish market for the first time.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, explained the strategy behind the acquisition: “The Wuaki.tv management team and technology are both very strong, as is the number and strength of its relationships across the video and hardware industries. We saw synergies in the ambition of both businesses to expand internationally while video on demand extends our digital goods offering. We also both believe the opportunity for video on demand services across Europe, as well as further afield, to still be in its infancy – particularly when looking at media consumption via mobile connected devices and eReaders.”
Jacinto Roca, founder and CEO of Wuaki.tv, stated: “We are already seeing a significant uptake of services due to increasing numbers of connected TVs and mobile connected devices and believe that, ultimately, online video will replace traditional pay-for-TV services. This agreement will allow us to expand the successful Wuaki.tv offering, both in terms of services and geographical reach.”