Youku and BBC Studios Sign Deal to Kick Up the Drama

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Youku and BBC Studios Sign Deal to Kick Up the Drama

Audiences are now able to watch more than 430 hours of dramas from BBC Studios on Youku, Alibaba Group’s flagship video-streaming platform.

Under an extended partnership between BBC Studios and Youku, subscribers of the Chinese streaming platform will later this month be able to watch even more of the most-popular TV series from the British production and distribution powerhouse, including all seasons of Sherlock, along with episodes of Good Omens, Sanditon, Doctor Who and Luther. Some of these titles will air exclusively in mainland China through Youku.

“The content produced and distributed by BBC Studios has always been the unrivaled representative of British creativity. We are delighted to introduce these distinctive series to the Chinese market through our ongoing collaboration,” said Xie Ying, general manager of Youku TV Series Center. “Our ambition is to be the number-one platform for British dramas, and we are committed to delivering the freshest content to Chinese users.”

Youku has kept its expansive content library fresh with shows from BBC Studios for over a decade, said Xie. In 2019, the online video hub expanded its family-friendly content catalogue by adding over 100 hours of shows from CBeebies, BBC Studios’ channel for kids, introducing animated characters from all over the world to preschool audiences in China market.

The new agreement adds more than 80 hours’ worth of content to Youku and is part of the platform’s expanded efforts to meet viewer demands for British dramas. In 2014, the third season of detective drama Sherlock, starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, reached 14.5 million views in just two weeks of airing on Youku. The platform now holds extended licensing rights to all four seasons of the show.

“It is great to see our relationship with Youku going from strength to strength with this agreement to show more quality British contemporary and classic drama in China,” said Phil Hardman, SVP of commercial operations and strategy in Asia at BBC Studios. “We look forward to contributing to the prosperity of China’s developing television industry through collaboration with local players, while also helping them to explore overseas markets and to tell Chinese stories around the world.”

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