Youku Tudou bulks up with Sony Pictures content

Recently formed Chinese IPTV provider Youku Tudou has signed a five-year agreement with Sony Pictures Television that will deliver more than 300 "new and classic Sony Pictures titles" to its premium platform.

It's not the only deal that Youku Tudou has pulled off since it became one company after merging China's two largest online video platforms—remarkably Youku and Tudou. Previously Youku Tudou signed similar deals with WB, DreamWorks, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBCUniversal and Lionsgate.

All the new content is going to be placed in a newly updated Youku Premium subscription system that gives subscribers  access to advertising-free videos in addition to 50 percent off on-demand film and TV viewing. A VIP membership tier offers unlimited viewing of more than 3,000 titles--including about 450 from major Hollywood studios--that will be available by the end of 2012.

A trial balloon live broadcast of comedian Guo Degang in August 2009 was Youku's first look at a premium service. Audience response was so good that the company launched a beta version in late 2010. That worked well enough that the service was launched and Youku Premium today lists about two million paid users.

"Youku Tudou has been committed to building the best platform for viewers and copyright holders alike," said Huilong Zhu, Youku Tudou's vice president of movie operations and corporate development, in the news release. "Our strong working relationships with all eight major Hollywood studios allow us to offer our viewers a wealth of licensed content."

The Youku Tudou executive said further that subscriber growth "has exceeded our expectations and we see it as a sign that Chinese audiences are willing and eager to pay for quality content."

For more:
- Youku Tudou issued this news release

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