Disney Signs Pact With YOU On Demand to Release VOD Films in China

“War Horse,” “The Help,” and “The Lion King” are among the titles that will be offered

YOU On Demand will offer films from the Walt Disney Company in China via video-on-demand, the company said Wednesday.

The films will range from recent films such as "War Horse" and "The Help" to classic titles such as "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King."

YOU On Demand will offer Disney films on a transactional basis and via the company's subscription service, while increasing the studio's access to one of the world's fastest growing markets. 

Also read: How Hollywood and Joe Biden Got China to Drop a 20-Year Movie Quota

To watch the collection of animated films, Pixar hits and Oscar nominees, Chinese customers viewers will be expected to shell out between $1 to $3.

Launched last year, YOU On Demand boasts an exclusive 20-year joint venture with CCTV-6's China Home Cinema (CHC), making it the first national pay-per-view and video on demand platform in China.

YOU On Demand is the brainchild of Shane McMahon, the son of World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. He is a former WWE media executive himself.

Citing China's recent announcement that it will open the country to more U.S. movies, McMahon told TheWrap that his company is importing its knowledge of the cable business  at the perfect time. 

"We're changing the way a nation views content," McMahon said. "We're helping show China what works not just in the U.S., but all over the world and we're educating the consumers about where to find the best content."

Under an agreement announced last weekend, China has agree to loosen its strict quotas, so that 50 percent more U.S. films can get a release in the country. It will also allow studios to get a greater share of the box office their films earn in China's borders. 

Since launching the service in December, YOU On Demand is currently available in 3 million Chinese homes and in three major cities. McMahon said that number should grow to 11 million homes by the end of the year. 

It has also signed distribution agreements with Lionsgate and Warner Bros., as well as several independent distributors. 

China presents enormous opportunities for Hollywood, but many studios are still wary of the widespread content piracy that takes place in the country. To that end, McMahon said that YOU On Demand offers its partners a safe and secure way to deliver their content, noting that its movies are encrypted all the way to the set-top box. 

He also said that the flexible appreciation for copyright is beginning to change. 

"China has made a commitment to curtail the stealing of content," McMahon told TheWrap. "By opening the doors for more movies, they're also allowing more people to see films. Before that there was no other way for them to see some of these films other than to steal them."