×

Machinima, With YouTube Blocked in China, Pacts With Sohu to Enter World’s Biggest Market

Gaming and eSports fans in China have largely been unable to access content from Machinima, given that YouTube access has been blocked under the country’s content-restriction policies since 2009.

Now Machinima is charging into the Middle Kingdom under an exclusive licensing deal with Chinese internet giant Sohu, which reaches more than 900 million monthly users. Under the pact, Machinima programming will be available on Sohu’s Online Video PGC (Professionally Generated Content) platform, the country’s second-largest online video service after Alibaba’s Youku Tudou.

The Machinima content will be offered on an ad-supported basis via a Machinima-branded portal across tv.sohu.com and on Sohu apps. The Sohu PGC platform, first developed in 2014 and merged with the 56 online video platform in January 2016, has more than 3,000 producers that have created 700,000 videos and generates about 100 million daily views.

“China is the largest market in the world for eSports and gaming, and crucial for Machinima,” said Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein.

Original Machinima productions coming to Sohu’s video service include “Street Fighter: Resurrection,” eSports reality show “Training Camp,” “The Bacca Chronicles” from YouTube influencer JeromeASF, and the upcoming “Transformers: Combiner Wars” based on the Hasbro toy franchise.

Sohu execs said they are working closely with Machinima to help develop a fanbase in China. “Our audience is dominated by millennials who love gaming and pop culture and Machinima is synonymous with both of these things,” Sohu Video product director Tao Zheng said in a statement. “Adding its highly entertaining content to our platform is certain to bring a wide array of programs that will excite our viewers.”

The Sohu deal comes after Machinima’s recent agreement with AMC Networks International Iberia to launch a subscription VOD service in Spain and Portugal. Machinima says it has creators producing content in 109 countries. Of the company’s 3.8 billion videos watched monthly, 60% are viewed in countries other than the country in which the content was produced.

Separately, Machinima on Thursday released the official trailer for “Transformers: Combiner Wars,” slated to debut Aug. 2 exclusively in the U.S. on Verizon’s Go90. The trailer drop for the series was timed for the first day of Comic-Con 2016.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • MINDHUNTER

    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content