Global streaming giant Netflix has licensed rights to Chinese series “I Hear You” from Chinese streaming platform Youku. The 24-part romantic comedy will play out from May 15 to Netflix subscribers in 190 countries.
Directed by Sunny Hsu, the series is based on a popular Internet novel “The Most Pleasant Thing to Hear,” written by Shi Xiao Zha. It is a story about the romance between a cold and aloof violinmaker and a sweet girl next door who aspires to become a voice actor, as they find themselves unexpectedly starring in a reality-dating show.
The series was produced by Zhou Mo, Huang Jin Ming, and is jointly owned by Youku, part of e-commerce leader Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment Group, and Chinese film studio Sugarent Film & TV. It began airing in China from late January on Youku and on Mango TV.
Netflix previously bought Youku detective thriller series “Day and Night,” in 2017. Youku sees this as vindication of a strategy to increase the quality of its original productions. These span drama, reality shows and documentaries.
“More than 50 original productions have been distributed overseas in the past two years, as we see growing interest from international distributors,” said Brandy Zhang, chief editor of Youku’s online series division. “We want to create even more quality content that resonates with viewers around the world.”
Last year Youku licensed worldwide format rights to Chinese reality show “The Dunk of China.” The show features up-and-coming basketball players who battle it out in team games and individual challenges to see who would come out on top. Judges and mentors include sports stars, including Jeremy Lin of the Brooklyn Nets, and acting-singing superstar Jay Chou (“The Green Hornet”).
According to a February report from Chinese consulting firm Entgroup, the number of paid subscribers on China’s online video platforms reached more than 230 million users in 2018, up from 22 million in 2015. Entgroup said it expects that number to climb to 300 million by the end of this year.