Sony Pictures Television have made an important deal in the Chinese streaming market, after they signed a five-year deal (of undisclosed value) with Youku Tudou Inc., providers of the largest internet television service (Youku) in the vastly populated Asian nation.
The arrangement will see the Japanese company bring in over 300 ‘new and classic’ films from their collection to be made available for Youku customers to stream, with the Sony selection now adding to the range of imported content (acquired through deals with other Hollywood studios such as 20th Century Fox, Disney, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, and Paramount (amongst others)) that can be accessed on the leading service.
The agreement is said to be one which could help Youku move clear of their rivals in the Chinese market once more, with fears inside the company that competing Chinese streaming services are attaining new overseas content rights and catching up to them at a fast rate.
Previous research from internet analysis firm iResearch Consulting Group had claimed that Youku has a total of around 488 million users, almost twice that of nearest competitor Tencent Inc. (263.5m), as they stated of the developing trends: “Online video platforms, such as Tencent Video, were able to triple its audience since April last year [through to August 2012] posing a threat to Youku Tudou.”
Meanwhile, Youku Tudou’s ‘vice-president of movie operations & corporate development’ Huilong Zhu said of the deal with Sony: “We are delighted to be working with SPT to enrich our film library. Our strong working relationships with all eight major Hollywood studios allow us to offer our viewers a wealth of licensed content.”
While they have what appears to be the most-used internet streaming platform in the world (with over 16 times more global users than American-based giant Netflix), and second only to YouTube in terms of online video sites overall, will Youku receive an added dose of quality from Sony that can help them to stay in their lofty position?