'The Simpsons' Gets "First Official China-Based Home" in Sohu Deal

The Simpsons Couch - H 2014

The Simpsons Couch - H 2014

The online video site strikes a multiyear deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution

The Simpsons are arriving in China on what the show's producer calls its "first official China-based home" via a licensing deal unveiled Monday.  

Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and Sohu Video, a unit of Chinese online giant Sohu.com, publicized the deal for the animated hit show without disclosing financial details.

The announcement was made by Charles Zhang, chairman and CEO of Sohu.com, and Mark Kaner, president of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution.
"This multiyear deal includes the Chinese premiere of season 26, which begins in the U.S. on Sept. 28," the companies said. "Sohu viewers across China will now be able to enjoy The Simpsons' irreverent outlook with the rest of the world."
The partners said that the deal marks the first time in the series' 25-year history that the show is "officially available throughout China." The show will be subtitled in Mandarin.

The series has been licensed to more than 180 countries, reaching over 190 million weekly viewers.

"Sohu is the pioneer in the industry that offers premium and licensed video programs to our audience in China," said Zhang. "The introduction of The Simpsons, a household name in the U.S., will further enrich our users' choice of the best American content when they come to our platform. This deal once again demonstrates our commitment in bringing the best experience to our users and tireless efforts to enhance our competitive edges in the industry."
Said Kaner: "The Simpsons is a unique television property, which has the ability to transcend worldwide cultural boundaries and has the capability to easily translate into any language." He added: "We are excited to expand our existing and long-standing partnership with Sohu to allow audiences in China to watch one of the greatest TV shows ever made."

Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons, quipped: "Woo hoo! Now we can reveal Springfield is actually in Guangdong province."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai