Alibaba’s SVOD Service Youku Developing Drama With Sony As It Bolsters International Co-Pros – Mip TV

Alibaba-owned Chinese SVOD service Youku is developing a drama with Sony Pictures Television after revealing that it looking to step up its partnerships with the Hollywood studios.

The Chinese digital broadcaster also lifted the lid on a number of other original projects at the Mip TV market in Cannes, where Weidong Yang, President of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, gave a keynote address.

Speaking to Deadline after his session, Yang revealed that it was working on a variety show with Endemol Shine Group, hours after announcing an overall partnership with the 21st Century Fox-backed business, as well as a documentary with the BBC. While he didn’t go into much detail about the projects, it’s an interesting sign that the Chinese business is actively opening its doors when it comes to international co-productions.

Yang said, “We will reduce the budget for buying finished programmes, I want to co-produce so that we both own the IP.”

In addition to these international co-productions, Youku was also aggressively producing local content with shows such as edgy detective series Day and Night.

Jack Ma’s Alibaba, which also owns a stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, is also looking at whether it could do more deals in the U.S. similar to this and is particularly looking at joint venture agreements. “We are thinking if can use the joint venture approach in America,” Yang added.

Yang added that it was not looking to launch Youku around the world and was more concentrated on competing with local rivals including Tencent.

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