Sohu announced today the company has reached a strategic cooperation agreement with production company LionsGate which will enable Sohu to have access to 300+ of the latter’s films plus two TV series Mad Men and Weeds. LionsGate will support Sohu with contents and resources sharing whilst Sohu will leverage on its multiple websites (or so-called Sohu Matrix) to promote LionsGate’s blockbusters. The latest team-up is a part of Sohu’s broader move to purchase more quality contents to compete with other rivals such as Youku, Tudou, Qiyi and Tencent Video as Sohu has been splashing money for copyrighted TV series and films.

The Beijing-based portal site has just teamed up with 20th Century Fox couple months ago to buy more than 400 films from the production company over the next 3 years.

 Sohu Video, the online video subsidiary of Sohu ranked No.2 among Chinese video sites in terms of user coverage and video plays in this September, according to market researcher comScore.

The scramble for copyrighted online contents gave rise to the skyrocketing content acquisition costs of Chinese video sites, we mentioned there’s a 1000 Times increase in copyrighted content costs compared to 5 years ago.

However, the current Chinese online market is a war that no player could afford to give up now after all the efforts and money poured into it even though the costs is fast rising and copyright infringement occurs now and then. Tudou and Youku are currently suing  each other over pirating.

Yu Chuyuan, Sohu CFO said at a conference call that Sohu would pay up to US$ 80 million to buy quality contents in 2012.