Warner Bros. is the latest American company to sign a streaming deal with the Chinese video platform iQiyi, TheWrap has learned.
Titles covered by the deal will include the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, “Gravity” and “Godzilla,” including exclusive rights to other cinematic classics including the “Harry Potter” films and the “Rush Hour” series. All in all, a library of 200 films will be available on iQiyi.
iQiyi is among the top online video services in China. Along with Alibaba and LeTV, it’s among the big streaming operations, sometimes referred to as the Netflix of China — fitting for a subsidiary of Baidu, a search portal often referred to as China’s Google. In December 2015, iQiyi said it crossed 10 million subscribers. By comparison, Netflix had 75 million members — but zero in China.
Last year, Fox signed a similar deal with iQiyi, giving the latter exclusive rights for Chinese subscribers to stream the studio’s theatrical releases on demand, as well as the first source for digital rentals. That means it was the first Chinese online platform for Fox films like “The Martian” and “The Revenant.”
Lionsgate followed suit and signed a long-term output agreement with iQiyi, with movies included in the deal including “Robin Hood,” “Patriots Day” and “American Assassin.”
Paramount, Sony, Disney, Universal, StudioCanal and Protagonist have also struck deals with the platform in the past.