BEIJING, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Youku.com, Inc. (NYSE: YOKU), China’s leading internet television company, and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA) announced today that they have entered into a first-of-its-kind online distribution agreement for rights to the DreamWorks Animation KungFu Panda franchise films in Mainland China. This is the first time that DreamWorks Animation titles, which are distributed by Paramount Pictures, will be made available through an online platform in China.
Both Kung Fu Panda titles are available for on-demand viewing on Youku Premium and will subsequently debut on Youku’s Hollywood Movie Channel after the paid viewing window closes.
“We’re excited to add both of DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda movies to our online channels,” said Victor Koo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Youku. “As technology matures and Chinese internet users increasingly turn to the web for entertainment, Youku has been able to expand on the traditional movie release roadmap through agreements for studio films such as Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2. Both titles have a proven track record of success with Chinese audiences, and we look forward to expanding our alignment with Hollywood studios in the future to offer even more compelling content.”
DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda franchise has grossed over $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office to date and is wildly popular with Chinese audiences. In China, Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film of 2008 and Kung Fu Panda 2 became the fastest film in history to surpass RMB 100 million at the box office – in just two days. The DreamWorks Animation artistic team visited China to obtain cultural references for the KungFu Panda films, both of which feature lush environments, scenery and landscapes inspired by traditional Chinese art and architecture.
“Youku is an innovative company with extraordinary reach in China and we are thrilled that the KungFu Panda features will now be offered through their platform, which presents high-quality content to consumers online,” said Kelley Avery, Head of Worldwide Franchise Strategy and Distribution for DreamWorks Animation. “It is particularly satisfying that Chinese audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the cultural references within our franchise and we look forward to making both Kung Fu Panda movies available to more and more consumers in China through Youku.”
Youku is the leader among China’s online video sites in introducing a new model for content distribution, under which recently released films become available for on-demand viewing for a certain period of time before becoming available on a subscription basis, followed by a free-on-demand basis. The model, which debuted with Chinese movies and recently expanded with the launch of the Hollywood Movie Channel, allows studios to monetize the online release of their titles while also ensuring that their films reach as wide an audience as possible.