One of my new roles: Consultant for ViKi

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While preparing my upcoming blog project, as I blogged recently: I am now helping some startup companies to address Indonesian market. One of them is ViKi, the 2011 Crunchies Award winner and SXSW Accelerator Top 3 Finalist.

Problem: You want to watch foreign-language movies and TV shows on the Web.

But! You only know English.

Solution: ViKi, a site that shows videos from around the world and provides captions in 100 different languages. ~Peter Kafka of All Things D

Founded in 2008 and based in Palo Alto and Singapore, ViKi is a community-powered site that allows anyone to discover world TV and movies in their own language, thanks to its crowd-sourcing translation platform. Their community has contributed over 125 million subtitles in 157 languages!

The site, previously known as ViiKii, leverages the power of its translator community to both subtitle and share their love of world TV and movies–from Japanese Anime to Spanish Novelas to Korean dramas to Egyptian movies to Bollywood and other genres–with new audiences.  Translators subtitle shows into their native languages under a Creative Commons license agreement, via ViKi’s integrated and systematic platform, which includes revision history and user-generated edits.

Hence the name, Viki –”Vi” for video and “Ki” for Wiki.

For movie fans, Viki is a great destinations where they can discover and enjoy their favorite movies and catch-up their favorite celebrities’ news and stories. If they discovered some highly recommended movies and dramas, but it still doesn’t have a certain of foreign language subtitles, they can start to translate or engage their network’s friends for some help.

I met Razmig Hovaghimian, co-founder and CEO, co-founders Jiwon Moon and Changseong Ho a few weeks ago in Singapore and really impressed with their efforts to have thousands of hours of licensed videos from around the world; and their crowd-sourcing translation platforms really helps community to contribute translation and subtitling. Hovaghimian, who worked at NBC Universal on digital strategy, asked me to help the company to develop and explore contents for Indonesian market –and then, for the rest of Southeast Asian markets.

I finally took the offer and challenge since I believe that video is the next big thing. Plenty of online publishers and local portals are struggling to find great as well as affordable contents for their sites. Creating original contents like video is extremely expensive; and licensing videos like movies, dramas, music clips and news from around the globe of course requires more resources. Having translations/subtitling for foreign audiences is another headache.

What does Viki means for the entertainment and digital world?

Bruce Upbin of Forbes writes

“I think Viki’s real power is as a content pipe sending shows to bigger players that it has unlocked from behind the language barrier. Five hundred million people now have broadband in the world. What do they have to watch online that they can understand? The Hollywood stuff in English may be good but it is severely limited. Eighty-five percent of the world’s TV and film production dollars are spent on non-U.S. content. More than 80% of the so-called formats, or localized versions of popular shows, are for non-U.S. shows. These shows are not in English.”

Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch says

The Web is so powerful today and the valuations are so high, because it is a billion-person-audience and growing. But more of them speak Chinese than English, and critical masses are developing around Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Bahasa Indonesian and other languages. The problem will only get worse as opportunity on the Web grows. Good translation can be incredibly expensive and just slapping Google translate on content isn’t going to be the answer.

ViKi has an interesting, open-source-like solution for video, that could have implications for other kinds of content online too. It acquires the rights to a TV show or movie, and puts it on one of its channels and within the first 24 hours an organized, volunteer community has subtitled the content into twenty languages. In another 24 hours, there’s another 20-languages of subtitles. The company has played more than 1 billion streams of video and its community has subtitled more than 100 million words into 143 languages since its 2008 inception.

If you are a big fan of a movie or drama, you can start contributing translations and subtitling for ViKi; If you know an interesting movie or show that you think the content fits with ViKi, please drop us a line.

If you are a content publisher that need more great contents for your sites or digital media; If you are a movie director/producer that has a great movie and you want the world to see, talk to me now! :-)

Some related sources on Viki:

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