China's Youku pacts for 1,000 TV series

Top video site will offer mix of genres

SHANGHAI -- China's top video Web site, Youku.com, has inked deals with producers of more than 1,000 TV series producers to put 40,000-plus episodes online, amounting to 50,000 hours, the company said Tuesday.

"Youku has obtained copyright authorizations for 80% of all the TV series in the Chinese market," Youku CEO Victor Koo told The Hollywood Reporter.

Youku will not only showcase episodes that have been or will be aired but will also include series that previously had no chance of airing.

"Video Web sites have shown that they can play a significant complementary role for TV stations and can also become a new distribution channel for TV series," Koo said.

"Our next step will be to market our TV series business," he added.

According to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, more than 500 TV series are produced in China each year, but only about 180 of them air.

As a part of its plans, Youku will showcase series from different genres, including a Korean TV series special this month.

Youku also will collaborate with local portal Sina.com to show the Chinese version of "Sofie's Diary," a popular Internet-only series.

The audience will decide the plot of each episode. Each installment will have two results; one will be shown on Youku and the other on Sina, Youku said.
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