Briefing: Netflix inks deal with Alibaba’s Youku for Chinese-language rom-com
May 10, 2019
What happened: Netflix signed a deal with Alibaba’s video streaming platform, Youku, to add another Chinese-language show to its offerings starting May 15. The US company bought the rights to 24 episodes of romantic comedy, “I Hear You,” which will be available in 190 countries and regions. Adapted from a Chinese novel of the same name, the series is a modern Cinderella story between an ordinary girl who wants to become an actress and a mysterious violin maker from a family of musicians. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Why it’s important: This is the second Chinese-language content deal struck between the two giants. Netflix acquired the rights to stream the detective thriller, “Day and Night” in late 2017, which was viewed more than 4 billion times in China in its first four months on Youku. Netflix has been pouring more money into Chinese-language content on increasing demand as it seeks to win over the more than 60 million Chinese people living outside the country. The US company also acquired rights to the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster “The Wandering Earth,” which was available beginning in May 6 on the US company’s platform, and is reportedly working on producing an original series in Chinese.