Rakuten TV expands in Europe: The story behind the at-home cinema powerhouse

It is Rakuten TV’s time to shine: Rakuten’s Barcelona-based video-on-demand platform has announced that it will triple its number of service locations from 12 to over 40 countries in Europe.

The new “Rakuten TV” button on smart TV remotes is expected to give the platform another significant boost to brand awareness and user numbers.

The dramatic expansion arrives parallel to several new partnerships with major television manufacturers Samsung Electronics, LG, Philips and Hisense that feature a “Rakuten TV” button on new TV remotes, allowing users to connect directly to the platform.

The place to go for movie premieres

2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Rakuten TV, but the service has been innovating and growing since its launch a decade ago. Founded in Barcelona in 2009, the company (then called Wuaki.tv) was a pioneer of media streaming in Europe.

The company was acquired by Rakuten in 2012, and soon expanded to 11 more countries, growing its presence around Europe. Building on Rakuten’s partnership with Spanish football powerhouse FC Barcelona, the service rebranded itself as Rakuten TV in 2017.

The platform has differentiated itself from subscription-based competitors by establishing a pay-per-view model focusing on the freshest movie releases, with the stated aim of becoming “Your cinema at home.”

A competitive edge and original content

This model has enabled Rakuten TV to release new titles much earlier than other platforms. It has became known as the go-to service for watching movies straight from the cinema, resulting in a good proportion of its content sales coming from newly-released blockbusters.

Rakuten’s new arrangements with TV manufacturers Samsung Electronics, LG, Philips and Hisense to feature a “Rakuten TV” button on smart TV remotes is expected to give the platform another significant boost to brand awareness and user numbers.

But content strategy isn’t the only thing setting Rakuten TV apart. Offering the best cinematic experience also requires having the best video quality. In fact, Rakuten TV currently offers the widest catalogue in 4K HDR in Europe for Smart TVs.

More recently, the platform has begun to develop original content, starting with last year’s World War II epic Hurricane starring Milo Gibson and Game of Thrones antagonist Iwan Rheon, as well as the Spanish drama Alegría Tristeza released last November. Future plans call for the release of more original movies before the end of 2019. 

On TVs and remotes all over Europe

By tripling its service locations in Europe, Rakuten TV has taken another major step in the consolidation of its home market. Previously only available to customers in Western Europe, the service will now be accessible in over 40 countries across Central, Mediterranean, Eastern and Northern Europe.

The company has had proven success with dedicated buttons on handsets from content provider partners like Roku, and the new “Rakuten TV” button on smart TV remotes takes Rakuten TV one step closer to delivering at-home cinema to households across Europe.

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