IMAX and China’s WASU Strike Home Theater Pact

BEIJING — IMAX And Chinese cable giant WASU Group have reached a content delivery agreement for IMAX-TCL Premium Home Theatre.

The deal is shaped as a joint-venture partnership between IMAX Corporation, TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings and Wasu Digital TV Media Group (WASU).

WASU will license and distribute IMAX-enhanced Hollywood and Chinese current theatrical and other content to the IMAX-TCL premium home theatre system.

IMAX and TCL agreed in 2013 to come up with a premium home theatre system. It will launch in China and other territories in 2015.

“Following our joint venture with TCL and our investment in Prima Cinemas’ secure content transmission technology, today’s content alliance marks the next logical step in the development of our premium home theatre offering in China,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “As a pioneer in digital content transmission and the navigation of the regulatory environment in China with extensive experience and knowledge of the local business landscape, WASU is the ideal content distribution and operation partner and enables a complete end-to-end premium home theatre experience for consumers in China.”

Wasu is one of China’s largest digital content providers and one of five operators approved by the state to deliver multimedia content to the home.

“With the world’s largest Internet population, entertainment consumption in China is undergoing a dramatic transformation.  We are committed to supporting innovations that reflect the new digital media realities that are currently underway,” commented Qiang Cao, chairman of WASU Digital TV Media Group.

IMAX now sees China as its second largest cinema circuit globally and last week agreed to sell a 20% stake in its China business to Chinese financiers.

“Today’s agreement, along with the recent investment in our China business by CMC Capital Partners and FountainVest Partners, is consistent with our long-term strategy in the country,” said Gelfond. “We are committed to aligning ourselves with strategic Chinese partners to better address consumer and market needs in order to strengthen our business interests in China and those of our shareholders.”

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