Rakuten Announces Its First Ad-Supported TV Content

Mike Wheatley

Japanese video streaming provider Rakuten has announced the launch of its first ad-supported video-on-demand channel.


The announcement was made by Rakuten’s found and CEO Jacinto Roca during an AVOD session at the Mipcom 2019 event in Cannes, France.

He said Rakuten’s new, free to watch tier would feature both local and Hollywood content at launch, and will eventually take in exclusive Rakuten shows, TV series, documentaries, news and sport as part of what it calls a “combined linear and on-demand offer”.

Rakuten said its expanded business model, which combines ad-supported content with a subscription-only service, is designed to meet the “changing needs of viewers”.

“This is a unique opportunity for Rakuten TV which has already direct access to millions of European households through its branded remote control button of the main Smart TV brands,” Roca said in a statement. “This is the mere beginning of a huge project which will see the launch of additional channels and exclusive content in the coming months”.

Rakuten said the new service will be made available in beta to European customers first of all, across its entire 2019 Smart TV lineup. Later, the channel will be rolled out across other Rakuten TVs and platforms including desktop and mobile, the company said.

Rakuten also announced its updating its user interface to make it “more intuitive”. It will also help viewers to discover the ad-supported free content, which is available via the “free” content section found in the main header menu.