The deal follows Lionsgate’s move into the Chinese VOD market last month via a pact with YOU On Demand. This new agreement gives leading Chinese internet TV platform Youku access to 200 Lionsgate titles for its Youku Movies Channel on an ad-supported basis. The deal was arranged through Celestial Tiger Entertainment, the Asian media company formed last December by Celestial Pictures, Saban Capital and Lionsgate. Youku also has deals in place to license content from Disney, Paramount, DreamWorks, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox. Studios are increasingly moving into the Chinese VOD arena with Warner Bros and Disney also in business there with YOU On Demand.
BEIJING, Mar. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Youku Inc. (NYSE: YOKU), China’s leading internet television company, recently signed a licensing agreement with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified global entertainment company. The deal was arranged through Celestial Tiger Entertainment, the exclusive sales agent for Lionsgate in Greater China and Southeast Asia. The agreement grants Youku the right to make 200 Lionsgate titles, including Hotel Rwanda, Monster’s Ball, and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, available to users on an ad-supported basis via Youku’s Movies Channel.
Youku’s Movies Channel (http://movie.youku.com) is a curated front-end to Youku’s free and premium film content, and offers content owners a range of options for making their work available to viewers. In addition to choosing to set a price for their content, content owners can opt to allow their content to become freely available after a set period. Eleven of the 18 films with Chinese box office revenues of more than RMB 100 million in 2011 are currently available on Youku’s Movies Channel.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer Lionsgate films to our users on an advertising-supported basis,” said Zhu Huilong, Vice president of Movie Operations and Corporate Development. “This agreement is a chance for Youku to deepen our industry-leading portfolio of international titles, and to broaden our partnerships with studios as we lead the way in offering legally licensed content online in China through a range of free and paid models.”
Rights holders also have the option of making their titles available through Youku Premium (http://yuanxian.youku.com/), which offers paid on-demand and subscription-based access to ad-free, high-resolution premium content, including major new releases and favorite classics from Chinese and international studios. Youku Premium debuted in beta in October 2010 and has processed more than 1 million orders since then, with an average of 60,000 paid views for each of the top ten titles on the platform.
Youku has signed deals to license content from a number of major international studios including Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks, Warner Bros, and 20th Century Fox.