Rakuten, the Japanese marketplace juggernaut, has had a hard time getting to any success abroad.
The newest strategy is a focus on Rakuten, the brand. Rakuten‘s diverse portfolio is brought together under the company‘s brand.
This makes a lot of sense.
The latest effort involves Wuaki.tv, the Spanish video-on-demand (VoD) company Rakuten acquired back in 2012, and which now counts five million users across 12 European markets, including Spain, the U.K., France, Germany, and Italy. […]
Moving forward, Wuaki.tv will be known as Rakuten TV, and the company said that it plans to double down on its investment in the U.K. market, where it counts one million users. Reports also indicate that Rakuten plans to integrate San Francisco-headquartered video-streaming service Viki — which Rakuten bought in a $200 million deal back in 2013 — into the broader Rakuten TV brand, alongside Wuaki.tv and Showtime, which operates out of Japan.
Rakuten also has a sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona and is experimenting with that as well:
Rakuten has also revealed plans to push Viber, which claims to have 800 million users and competes with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as a communications conduit between FC Barcelona and fans / media.
Rakuten has a history of buying fascinatingly diverse services such as Viber but failed to bring that portfolio together in a meaningful manner.
Maybe we‘ll see a sort of Amazon Prime from Rakuten in due time?