Rakuten TV mulls wider European expansion

Jacinto-Roca---WuakiVideo-on-demand service Rakuten TV is mulling plans to expand its footprint across more European countries.

Speaking exclusively to TBI’s sister title Digital TV Europe, Rakuten TV CEO Jacinto Roca (pictured) said “we have the intention to launch but we don’t have concrete plans yet”.

Roca said that heading into next year, the firm might consider increasing its number of territories with a view to expanding into the Nordics and Eastern Europe.

“The idea is to cover Europe as a whole,” said Roca. “That will be the main priority. I think that to launch in these countries we may consider M&A opportunities as well.”

Currently Rakuten TV is live in twelve European countries, including its home and largest market of Spain, and other major European countries like the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

While the service is primarily a transactional VOD service focused on new release movies, in Spain it also has an SVOD offering with some exclusive content deals – for instance it has the rights to content from US Disney channel Freeform.

Asked whether Rakuten TV plans to expand this offering into more markets, Roca said: “We are evaluating it, but there is no concrete plan to launch our SVOD service outside of Spain yet.”

Rakuten TV currently claims some five million users in total, of which more than 20% are in the UK.

The VOD service is owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, and is a sponsor of FC Barcelona football club and also the BFI London Film Festival – long-term initiatives designed to up the service’s brand awareness.

Founded as Wuaki.tv in 2009, the business was acquired by Rakuten in 2012 and rebranded as Rakuten TV in July of this year.

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