China's iQiyi Acquires Streaming Rights to 'Shape of Water,' 'Molly's Game,' More

The Shape of Water Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

The Chinese video giant picked up exclusive rights to six Golden Globe-nominated films, also including 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' and 'The Greatest Showman.'

Chinese streaming video service iQiyi has acquired the exclusive online rights to six Golden Globe Award-nominated Hollywood films, including The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Molly's Game.

iQiyi, a subsidiary of search giant Baidu, has consistently been one of China's biggest buyers of Hollywood and international content. It has an exclusive output arrangement with Netflix (which remains blocked in China), and last year signed exclusive licensing deals with 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and the British Film Institute.

The other three Globes-nominated titles picked up by iQiyi are: The Greatest Showman, Battle of the Sexes and animated feature Ferdinand.

"Through the precise prediction of AI and big data, and coordination between our experienced procuring teams, iQIYI will continue to capture quality movie resources, delivering a more international angle and more superior content," the company said in a statement.

iQiyi has been working to distinguish itself as an online purveyor of both blockbusters and imported prestige fare. In March, the company exclusively acquired Oscar favorites Moonlight and La La Land.

Streaming video is one of the most hotly contested areas of the Chinese entertainment landscape. Not unlike Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in North America, iQiyi and its rivals — Tencent Video and Alibaba-owned Youku — continue to spend billions on acquiring exclusive rights and producing star-driven originals. According to most recent estimates, iQiyi holds a slight edge in subscriber numbers over Tencent Video, with Youku trailing further behind.