Chinese Online Video Giant Youku Tudou Acquires 33 U.S. TV Series
Youku Tudou, China's leading Internet streaming video service, has announced the addition of 33 U.S. TV dramas, comedies and variety shows to its library of licensed content.
Among the titles picked up by the Chinese online video giant are Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls, Cougar Town, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Revenge and 27 other popular shows from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW and WB.
According to the company, viewership of U.S. TV is its fastest-growing content category, with an increase of roughly 400 percent from 2011 to 2012. Average views for single episodes reach as high as 2.5 million, Youku Tudou said in a statement.
After appearing on Youku.com, The Walking Dead became the most-watched U.S. show in China, reaching the top three on Chinese Internet search giant Baidu's TV list, with the third season scoring more than 95 million views on Youku.
The huge content coup more than doubles Youku Tudou's existing library of American TV series. Since 2010, the company had imported slightly more than 20 U.S. TV shows, including Desperate Housewives, American Idol, Scandal, Glee, Survivor, America's Got Talent and The X Factor.
Financial terms and the specific timing for the slate of acquisitions were not disclosed Thursday.
Youku and Tudou once were major rivals in the fiercely competitive Chinese streaming video space, ranking No. 1 and No. 2 by market share, respectively. Youku acquired Tudou in August in a stock deal valued at $1 billion. The new entity, Youku Tudou, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as YOKU. Combined, the company's two sites, Youku.com and Tudou.com have a user base of nearly half a billion, by most estimates.