BUSAN: Youku Inks Trio of Korean Film Deals

BUSAN — Youku Tudou, the giant Chinese online video platform, has struck content supply deals with all three of the major South Korean film conglomerates.

The company has exclusively acquired all online rights in China to the feature film output of CJ Entertainment. Youku Tudou founder and CEO Victor Koo announced the three-year deals Saturday night in Busan. The deals run through 2016 and do not include TV content.

Additionally, Youku Tudou has acquired exclusive online rights to 50 library titles from Showbox and Lotte.

Youku has multiple channels arranged according to genre and nationality of content. The acquired titles will likely play on its Korean thematic channel.

Youku pitches online platforms as presenting an opportunity to Korean films that the Chinese theatrical market cannot offer. Currently only two or three Korean movies are theatrically released in China each year, and they represent only 0.4% of China’s total box office. In contrast, Korean TV programs and movies are very popular. TV series “Dr. Stranger” received 400 million video views, and “It’s Okay. That’s Love” had 200 million video views on Youku Tudou.

Youku Tudou last month announced the establishment of Heyi Film, a new movie production and investment company, while this week in Busan it announced a short film and talent incubation initiative in partnership with the festival.

Co-productions between China and Korea are expected to be a significant part of Heyi’s slate. Heyi’s first China-South Korea co-production, “Bad Sister,” directed by Kim Tae-gyun has wrapped will be released in a few months. The company has also greenlit another co-prod, with details to be revealed shortly.

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