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Alibaba’s Youku expands content via licensing deal with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television

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By Charlotte McEleny | Asia Editor

December 14, 2017 | 3 min read

Alibaba-owned streaming service Youku has signed a significant duo of content deals, with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television, boosting the content that its users can view.

Subscribers of the service in China will now be able to watch films and content from both studios across its online streaming, smart TV and set-top boxes service.

As the Chinese platforms battle against one another, big name licensing deals will be a key way to keep audiences in a more competitive space. The deals are flowing east-to-west too, however, as Youku also signed a deal with Netflix last week, agreeing to show Chinese content on the streaming channel in 190 countries.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is one film that will now be available on Youky due to new deals

The content, according to Alibaba, will now be available to its service, which is watched across 580m devices, giving the studios access to a large Chinese audience.

Belinda Menendez, president and chief revenue officer, Global Distribution, NBCUniversal, commented: “We are thrilled to expand upon the partnership between NBCUniversal and Youku. With Youku’s broad reach in the market and the high-caliber titles in our portfolio, this deal will ensure that we will continue to provide Chinese audiences with a fantastic entertainment experience for years to come

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For Yang Weidong, president of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, the deal creates a richer content pool for its users.

“By cooperating with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television to show famous Hollywood films on our platform, we can bring richer global content into Alibaba’s entertainment ecosystem. I am confident that expanding our relationships with more international studios will further enhance our platform’s penetration into the home entertainment business and push the online video and OTT (over the top) businesses to greater heights,” said Weidong.

Recent releases from both studios that will be available on the service include; Sony’s Blade Runner 2049, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom and Darkest Hour.

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