Chinese VOD iQiyi describes Netflix deal as ‘modest in scope’

Netflix's Stranger Things seen on Chomecast Ultra. Image: Netflix
The new deal with Netflix will give iQiyi access to originals including “Stranger Things” and “Black Mirror.”

Confirming Netflix’s plans to reach Chinese audiences with its programming, Chinese VOD service iQiyi says it has been licensing a few of its shows.

iQIYI and Netflix have signed a content licensing agreement for a “subset of Netflix originals.” Specifically, iQiyi said it will have access to “Stranger Things” and “Black Mirror.”

“Though expectations of our deal are modest in scope, we are delighted that consumers will be able to enjoy these highly popular series on iQiyi … Our cooperation will be subject to the relevant regulations on online streaming of imported drama and film content in China,” said iQiyi in a statement.

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RELATED: Netflix set to enter China through licensing deal

The official word from iQiyi comes after a Hollywood Reporter story earlier this week in which Netflix touted its deal with iQiyi. Robert Roy, Netflix's vice president of content acquisition, told the publication that China has been a tough market to break into and that Netflix is currently trying to license its content into the country, as opposed to a full Netflix launch, which Roy said could still happen eventually. He called the iQiyi deal exciting.

"For us, it does a couple of things," Roy told the publication. "It gets our content distribution into the territory and builds awareness of the Netflix brand and Netflix content."

The iQiyi deal comes almost seven months after Netflix originally announced its plans to license content to existing Chinese VODs instead of pursuing a full launch. Netflix throwing in the towel came after years of trying to deal with China’s strict rules for foreign media companies.

At that time, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted that revenue from those licensing deals wasn’t likely to have much impact on Netflix’s balance sheet.

“We expect revenue from this licensing will be modest,” wrote Hastings, adding that “We still have a long term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually.”

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