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Disney pacts with China’s Youku.com

Vid-sharing site looks to U.S. for content

China’s top vid-sharing site, Youku.com, has signed with Disney’s Buena Vista Intl. to stream skeins, and said it’s just the first step in boosting cooperation with Hollywood.

Deal kicked off with “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” both now available on the site, Youku spokesman Hong Lulu said.

Youku is hugely popular in China, where YouTube is banned, although many access YouTube using virtual private networks.

Hong said Youku is working with foreign media to import popular skeins to China, to protect intellectual property rights and to make sure auds get high-quality content.

Piracy of formats and content is a major problem in China, although the more progressive companies are doing their best to meet international standards. Also, the unreliability of pirate downloads means there is a market for better quality content delivered well.

Youku launched a beta version of a subscription service that will allow users to view premium content, such as movies.

This continues the trend of Chinese players signing deals with U.S. and other foreign studios to provide content. This week Chinese toon house Creative Power Entertaining licensed its series to Disney channels across the Asia-Pacific region.

Three-year deal covers 100 episodes of hit toon skein “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf — Joys of Seasons,” which will air in 52 countries.

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