The video streaming service Viki announced that it had acquired Soompi .a fan, news and community site in English about Korean dramas and Cinema. Viki had purchased Soompi from Crunchyroll, a subscription service for anime videos for a deal valued at less than ten million dollars. Crunchyroll is part of the video venture between Peter Chernin and the AT&T Ellation. Soompi which was founded in the year 1998,focusses on Korean pop culture. It is an online magazine and has a fan forum where fans can discuss their favourite Korean dramas: TV shows, actors and celebrities.
Soompi claims that it has seven million users monthly at present, while Viki has approximately forty million users. The CEO of Viki. Tammy Nam claimed that Viki was planning to use Soompi to develop its forum and news section. Nam said that Soompi is about the community just like Viki. She also confirmed that all ten employees of Soompi would join Viki. However. Soompi will retain its domain and use its brand name. She also said that Soompi would complement Viki since there was almost no overlap between the members of the websites.
For some years, Viki has offered its users TV shows which are ad-supported or subscription-based. The Japanese company Rakuten owns Viki, which mainly specializes in content from East Asian countries like China. Hong Kong. Japan. Taiwan. However, some hits are also from other countries like Turkey. Nam claimed that Viki wanted to become a global version of Hulu, catering to the younger viewers who had grown up watching Youtube, have travelled worldwide. These users are looking for content from sources other than conventional cable TV channels. These users prefer to watch Korean dramas instead of remakes of Hollywood movies. Hence Nam claimed that Viki would be adding content from new sources in the future.
Like Crunchyroll and Dramafever, which are also focused on the Korean dramas, Nam believes that the next Hollywood will be from Asia. While all these companies are using content based on Korean pop culture, they are using different methods to promote this content to users in the United States or elsewhere. Crunchyroll has mainly focused on paid subscriptions, and this was effective for the anime fans who were the core users of the website. However, when Crunchyroll used this business model for Kdrama.com, its Korean content website, it was unable to compete with Viki and Dramafever.
Crunchyroll then tried to use the existing member base when it acquired Soompi in 2014. However, it now appears that acquiring Soompi did not help Crunchyroll attain its goals. Peter Chernin and AT&T formed a company for online videos called Otter Media at the 2013 year-end, and Otter Media acquired Crunchyroll. Since then, the company has been low profile and has developed a corporate platform called Ellation, which aims to offer premium videos for fans according to the corporate website, which was launched recently. Soompi is not featured on the website, and the Otter Media spokesperson also declined to comment on the Soompi sale.