If Baidu didn't already have reason to take pause at Youku and Tudou's recent merger, it might now: the newly joined Chinese video giant just announced a five year licensing deal with Sony Pictures. The agreement will put some 300 Sony titles on Youku Premium's ad-free platform, providing subscribers with classic, critically acclaimed and recent tiles such as Groundhog Day, Across the Universe, and Men in Black 3. The Sony deal also gives Youku Tudou a complete set of major Hollywood content providers, complimenting similar deals with Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal, Lionsgate and Twentieth Century Fox. Check out the firm's official announcement after the break.
BEIJING, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Youku Tudou Inc. (NYSE:YOKU), China's largest Internet television company, signed an agreement with Sony Pictures Television (SPT) today to bring more than 300 new and classic Sony Pictures titles to the Youku Premium platform. The five-year Sony Pictures Television deal comes on the heels of previous Youku Tudou agreements with each of WB, DreamWorks, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, NBC Universal, and Lionsgate, rounding out the company's offerings to include licensed content from all major Hollywood studios.
300 Sony Pictures titles will become available for paid on-demand viewing over the duration of the agreement, including classic titles like Groundhog Day, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as such critically acclaimed titles as The Fisher King and Across the Universe. Sony Pictures Television will also make newer films available including, Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, and 21 Jump Street.
Youku updated its Youku Premium subscription system on August 23 to offer subscribers ad-free access to all videos on Youku's platform, plus 50% off on-demand film and TV viewing through Youku Premium. The VIP membership tier additionally offers unlimited viewing of films covered by monthly subscription licensing agreements. More than 3,000 film titles, including around 450 titles from major Hollywood studios, will be available for viewing by the end of 2012.
"We're delighted to be working with Sony Pictures Television to enrich our film library," said Huilong Zhu, Youku Tudou's vice president of movie operations and corporate development. "Since launching Youku Premium in 2010, Youku Tudou has been committed to building the best platform for viewers and copyright holders alike, and our strong working relationships with all eight major Hollywood studios allow us to offer our viewers a wealth of licensed content. Subscriber growth for Youku Premium has exceeded our expectations, and we see it as a sign that Chinese audiences are willing and eager to pay for quality content. By providing a wide range of payment and subscription options, Youku Tudou has made it as simple as possible for them to do so."
After first experimenting with paid viewing for a live broadcast of comedian Guo Degang's show in August 2009, Youku debuted Youku Premium (http://yuanxian.youku.com) in beta in late 2010, offering ad-free, high-resolution premium content on a paid on-demand and subscription-based basis. China's first premium video platform, Youku Premium has approximately two million paid users. Youku Premium combines compelling content offerings from Chinese and international rights-holders with a number of quick, easy payment options, while offering rights-holders a range of options for making content available, including paid on-demand viewing, free ad-supported viewing, or viewing through paid subscriptions.