Chinese internet TV company Youku has announced a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, under which Youku will license 250 titles of new release and library films. The titles will appear on Youku Premium, Youku's on-demand platform, which has processed more than one million orders since launching in beta a year ago.
The number of pay-per-view transactions on Youku Premium more than tripled between Q2 and Q3 of 2011. As of November, a growing percentage - 13.5% - of Youku Premium users paid more than once per month to view premium content.
"We have been working closely with Hollywood studios in providing quality content to millions of Chinese internet users while effectively protecting intellectual properties," said Huilong Zhu, vice president of Movie Operations and Corporate Development at Youku.
"We are encouraged by the growth of the Youku Premium platform, and our new licensing agreement with Fox will make Youku Premium more compelling for our users."
Jamie McCabe, executive vice president, WW PPV, VOD & EST, added: "We're eager to make our entertainment content accessible to the widest audience possible in China. With Youku's on-demand platform, consumers can easily enjoy our films online with a quality viewing experience."
The 250-film deal will grant Youku Premium the right to offer Fox's new release films and library titles. Film franchises have performed well on Youku Premium, with new theatrical releases driving online interest in previous installments in the franchises, and the new deal includes online rights to some of Fox's most beloved franchises including Planet of the Apes, Ice Age, X-Men and Alien. The films will begin appearing on Youku Premium this month, ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday in late January.
Youku is the leader among China's online video sites in introducing a new model for content distribution under which recently released films become available for on-demand viewing for a certain period of time, after which they may become available either to premium plan subscribers or for free on-demand viewing. Titles licensed under the new agreement with Fox will be available purely on a transactional pay-per-view basis, without a subscription or free on-demand component.