Youku, the New York-listed “Chinese YouTube”, has gained a license from Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group’s CAV Warner Home Entertainment joint venture to stream up to 450 new and archive movie titles through its paying Youku Premium service.
The deal more than doubles Youku Premium’s current library of 300 movies and 3,880 educational videos, which has seen 200,000 paid views since launching in October.
Warner was already aboard with Youku Premium when Youku launched the service in beta with Inception on board – a trial Youku says convinced local Chinese film owners to hand over their titles for inclusion. Now Youku will add titles including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and the Lord of the Rings triology
Youku CFO Dele Liu via announcement: “Over the past year, we’ve seen Chinese Internet users become more sophisticated in terms of what they’ll spend money on. People are increasingly willing to pay for high quality content, and we take the growth of Youku Premium as a sign that the market is improving for paid services.”
“We spent the time when Youku Premium was in beta making sure that we had the technology to power the service. Now we’re working to make sure that we’ve got the content that will set Youku Premium apart from the competition, and our new agreement with Warner Bros. (NYSE: TWX) is a major step in that direction.”
Youku did a Disney deal in October.
When it floated on the Nasdaq in December, its IPO raised $202.85 million, above the $150 million it had initially hoped to raise.