‘Big Brother’ to Launch in China on Youku Platform (EXCLUSIVE)

HONG KONG – Global hit reality TV show “Big Brother” is to launch in China from early 2015 following a deal between Endemol and Youku Tudou.

The deal is the first time that the iconic format, which has been produced as 25 series in over 70 territories, has been sold to a video platform, rather than a linear broadcaster. Youku Tudou claims over 500 million active users and over 200 billion site visits annually.

The show will be produced by Youku Tudou and Endemol (Beijing) Culture Media, a new entity set up recently.

Endemol will contribute the format, a core production team and the show’s ‘bible.’ Youku will contribute platforms, advertising sales capacity and interactive facilities. Youku Tudou has a Chinese government license to produce content for online distribution.

The two companies plan to produce the Chinese version as a 10-episode series that will air weekly on Friday or Saturdays on Youku, the more Netflix-like of Youku Tudou’s two video platforms. Tudou, which is closer to the YouTube business model, is expected to sign up its own reality format in the near future.

“We plan to localize the show to Chinese audience tastes, as we have previously with ‘Searching Divas,’ a Korean format that we licensed previously,” said Victor Koo, CEO and founder of Youku Tudou. “What really differentiates this relationship is our position as a multiplatform Internet group, our access to big data and an ability to understand what is working for the audience and what is not.”

Koo said that details such as voting systems and the selection of housemates had not yet been finalized, but the strengths of an Internet platform include a higher degree of interactivity than would be available to linear broadcasters, while the data and measurement systems are expected to provide extensive feedback to advertisers.

“We attract audiences of over 10 million viewers to ‘Divas,’ so we’d expect ‘Big Brother’ to be well over 10 million per episode,” said Koo. “We also intend this to be a long-term deal with Endemol.”

Endemol has previously worked in China with shows including five series of celebrity talent format Your Face Sounds Familiar for Hunan TV and The Brain for Jiangsu TV.

“In a market that annually generates hundreds of billions of video views, partnering with the number one digital video platform will allow us to bring Big Brother to a young audience and deliver the most immersive, interactive and unique experience to fans across the nation,” said Endemol’s CEO of Asian Operations Arjen van Mierlo.

“Youku Tudou has been advancing its multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem to provide its users with higher quality original content. By partnering with Endemol [on ‘Big Brother’], Youku Tudou can build on its achievements with this great fit into our business model,” said Koo.

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