“We are planning a very significant cooperation with Netflix,” said Liu Hong, co-founder and vice chairman of LeEco, speaking in Beijing on Tuesday. “Details will be announced in the third quarter.”
Sources close to LeEco, who were not authorized to speak on behalf of the group, told Variety that the deal is likely to see Netflix-owned shows playing on Le Eco’s video streaming platform in the U.S. “We are an open platform. We certainly would welcome quality content, such as Netflix,” said the source.
LeEco is significantly ramping up its activities in North America. Last week it announced the $2 billion acquisition of smart TV manufacturer Vizio. It plans to hold a presentation in late September to unveil its U.S. strategy.
A similar content deal could be struck between the two companies in India. That could put Netflix’s shows on Le Eco’s debut roster when the Chinese firm launches its phones, TV sets and services in the world’s second most populous nation.
It is unlikely that the deal opens the door for Netflix in China in the short term. Despite a global rollout of its streaming services in January this year, Netflix has so far been unable to find a way to launch its operations in China.
China is a booming market for streaming video, with the leading local companies counting close to half a billion users.
Chinese regulators have recently increased their controls over online and streaming companies, notably imposing stricter censorship of foreign content. Imported series must now be approved in their entirety by China’s censors before going to air, a requirement that has severely crimped the kind of day-and-date release of high value series that has helped Netflix gain traction in other markets.