Let’s beat the bootleggers at their own game. That seems to be the sentiment at Warner Bros., as the studio has announced plans to make its movies available by VOD in China — becoming the first major Hollywood studio to do so. Warner Bros. has partnered with Beijing-based Union Voole Technology, a broadband technology and content distribution company, for the deal. Chinese users will be able to download DRM-protected movies like I Am Legend, Fool’s Gold and Speed Racer through Voole.com for between 4-7 Yuan ($0.58-$1.02) with both classic and upcoming films and TV series to follow. The downloads include both Chinese-dubbed and subtitled versions of each film, extras Warner says should help woo movie fans away from their pirated versions.
Union Voole announced that it was building out a legal, studio-friendly online movie distribution service in late September, per ScreenDaily.com, touting exclusive, revenue-sharing deals with both Warner Bros. and *Sony*. The service lets users download video on both a one-off and monthly subscription basis. Tony Vaughan, managing director of CAV Warner (Warner Bros’ Home Entertainment joint venture in China), made it clear that the deal was almost inevitable — fueled by a growing demand for high quality, full-length feature films over the Web in China: “Over 80 percent of the total China internet population has viewed online video content in the last six months alone, and now we can offer them a wider selection of top quality entertainment the way they want to watch it.” Release.