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Rakuten TV teaming up with advertisers as coproduction partners

CONTENT AMERICAS: Rakuten TV, the European streaming service and FAST channels arm of Japanese e-commerce and fintech giant Rakuten, is capitalising on the AVoD boom by allowing advertising partners the chance to coproduce original content.

Cristian Liarte

Speaking on the final day of Content Americas in Miami, Cristian Liarte, the company’s VP of original content, shed light on how the streamer’s business model maximises the impact of deals with traditional advertising partners and major brands.

“AVoD is not just a 30-second commercial interruption; instead it’s an opportunity to develop storytelling models alongside brands. It’s a chance to engage with advertisers in other ways and help those brands engage with and develop our audience,” Liarte said.

By involving traditional advertisers and brands “as coproducers and not simply advertisers,” Rakuten is seeking to establish a more emotional connection with viewers watching ads, in addition to lightening the financial burden of content production, according to the company.

“It’s an opportunity to use advertising’s power to tell stories because, at the end of the day, you have a commercially valuable audience that brands want and need to relate to, and that also helps you reduce your financial risk. As an AvoD platform, fully financing the costs of an original production makes generating sufficient revenues very complicated,” the Spanish exec explained.

Liarte also stressed the importance of developing tailored local catalogues for regional audiences in order to consolidate their presence in foreign markets, as the company is looking to branch out beyond its European stronghold and expand into the Latin American and the US markets.

“We try to offer local content that is relevant to regional audiences but without forgetting that there is also pan-regional content that travels very well,” he told Content Americas delegates.

“We always have our mind set on how content – whether it’s original content, library or acquisitions – can travel outside of Europe, because Latin America and the US are markets that interest us and we are evaluating if we can travel here.”

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