Youku pacts with Fox

Chinese streaming site licenses 250 titles

China’s biggest online video streaming site, Youku.com, has pacted with 20th Century Fox to license 250 pics, both new release and library titles, on its Premium platform.

Film franchises have performed well on Youku Premium, with new theatrical releases driving online interest in previous installments. The deal includes online rights to franchises “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.

The number of pay-per-view transactions on Youku Premium more than tripled between the second and third quarters of 2011, the company said in a statement. As of November, 13.5% of Youku Premium users paid to view premium content more than once per month.

“We have been working closely with Hollywood studios in providing quality content to millions of Chinese Internet users while effectively protecting intellectual properties,” said Zhu Huilong, VP of movie operations and corporate development.

“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,” said Zhu.

Youku Premium has processed more than 1 million orders since launching in beta a year ago.

In August, Youku struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation for online distribution of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise.

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