Rakuten-owned Viki names new CEO

Joanne Waage

Joanne Waage

Rakuten-owned streaming service Viki has upped its senior vice-president of partnerships and programming, Joanne Waage, to CEO.

Waage, who has led the company’s content and business development strategy for two years, takes over from previous chief executive Tammy H. Nam, who remains an advisor to both Viki and Rakuten.

“I’m thrilled to be assuming the leadership position at Viki. I look forward to leading this young and dynamic company by leveraging our unrivaled understanding of fandom and engagement,” said Waage.

“Our mission is to bring global entertainment to new fans everywhere and continue breaking down barriers along the way.”

Viki’s catalogue is primarily made up of Asian TV shows and movies and the service uses crowdsourced subtitles to open up its content catalogue to a broader audience.

The service offers Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese programmes, movies, lifestyle clips and original videos translated into some 200 languages. Viki’s publishing division Soompi is also home to K-pop and K-entertainment content.

“Rakuten’s Viki has empowered individuals around the world to bridge cultures and build communities through great entertainment and, under Tammy’s leadership, established itself as a leader in innovative global TV streaming services,” said Rakuten founder and CEO Mickey Mikitani.

“Now, with a renewed focus on diversified programming and creative product features, Joanne and her team are ready to take Rakuten’s Viki into a new and exciting chapter of global entertainment.”

Before joining Viki in 2015, Waage was senior vice-president of business development and head of content acquisition at MobiTV. Earlier in her career she worked at Viacom across the MTV and VH1 brands. She is currently based in San Francisco.