FremantleMedia closes Youku deal as CEO outlines vision

FremantleMedia has signed a multi-year content output deal with Youku Tudou, the online video site dubbed ‘the Chinese YouTube’.


Under terms of the agreement, FremantleMedia will provide premium content to Youku’s VOD channels, and

Youku Tudou has about 200 million mobile users. The platform is the result of a merger between VOD companies Youku and Tudou last year.

In total, the deal comprises 202 hours and includes Total Blackout USA, The X Factor USA (season three), America’s Got Talent (season eight) and Celebrity Apprentice (season six) among others. It also includes scripted series Hit and Miss and a pair of period dramas, The Crimson Petal and Fingersmith.

Ganesh Rajaram, FremantleMedia International’s executive VP, Asia, said, “Youku is a fantastic outlet for our programming in China allowing some of our best known shows to reach millions of new viewers. Our brands have repeatedly demonstrated their mass appeal around the world so it’s fitting and exciting that they can now reach such a thriving new market.”

First news of the deal came during FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz’s keynote speech here at MIPCOM, in which she outlined her vision for the company. Frot-Coutaz (pictured) replaced Tony Cohen in the top job last year and restructured the company, dropping its siloed Enterprises unit and replacing it with a more-integrated International division. This lead to the departure of long-serving FremantleMedia commercial executive David Ellender.

“We used to have a structure where it was production on one side and enterprise on the other. I don’t think FremantleMedia would be where it is today if wasn’t for that, but things change,” said Frot-Coutaz of the move.

She also pointed to scripted TV as a major growth driver in coming years, noting that the balance of unscripted to scripted revenue generation was currently around “seventy-thirty” split but that she would like this to become “fifty-fifty” within five years.

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