Youku, the video hosting and streaming arm of the Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, today announced the signing of two significant licensing deals with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television.
As a result of the deals, subscribers to the Youku service will be able to watch hundreds of films from NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television’s respective libraries for no additional fee. The films are also available to all Youku users via multiple Youku distribution channels, including its flagship online platform, SmartTV solutions, and set-top boxes.
The multi-year agreements with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television will not only add to Youku’s already broad content offering, but they also reinforce the strength of the partnerships that Youku has with these studios.
Tencent video, iQiyi, and Youku were named as the top 3 video apps in China (Source in Chinese), according to QuestMobile’s data on 2017 2Q.
In China, where YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon have been unable to penetrate, there is certainly a content war between many video streaming players in China trying to work with these US players to stream their popular content in China. The leading online video and streaming service platforms in China are trying to partner with international studios that own content IPs that can bring in other sources of revenue. They are also busy doubling down on their original content.
Yang Weidong, President of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group said, “I am confident that expanding our relationships with more international studios will further enhance our platform’s penetration into the home entertainment business and push the online video and OTT (over the top) businesses to greater heights.”
The agreements will also enable Youku users to have faster access to the latest and upcoming movies from each of the two studios such as Sony’s Blade Runner 2049, which was recently released in the cinemas and was highly acclaimed in China, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
NBCUniversal will provide Youku with a full lineup of blockbuster Hollywood movies, including the entire collection of films from hit franchises such as The Fast and the Furious, Despicable Me, The Mummy and more. Sony Pictures Television will provide award-winning movie series such as Resident Evil, The Smurfs, and The Spider-Man.
To offer its users the best film offerings, Youku has been aggressively signing deals with international studios since 2015. Youku has also partnered with Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, FOX and other major Hollywood companies.
Youku claims that its content reaches 580 million devices such as mobile phones, PCs, and televisions with 1.18 billion daily video views, as well as a wide selection of acquired movies in its library.