China’s Youku takes 80 hours of BBC Studios drama


Chinese streamer Youku has signed up for over 80 hours of drama programming from BBC Studios, including licensing the first four seasons of Sherlock.

The deal, announced today at the BBC Studios Showcase event in Liverpool, includes Good OmensSanditon, the latest series of Doctor Who and Luther series 1-3.  Additionally, Youku will be the only Chinese video platform to air the entire catalogue of the Doctor Who series, an d includes the HD version of classic comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

The deal is the latest in a series of BBC Studios announcements with Asian partners at Showcase. Yesterday BBC Studios unveiled a multi-year deal with Japanese SVOD operator U-Next, and also licenced the latest UK season of Top Gear to India’s Viacom18 Media.

Part of the Alibaba Group, Youku operates across PC, TV and mobile in China. BBC Studios has partnered with Youku for over a decade, supplying drama shows, children’s shows, documentaries and content across other genres.

Youku already has the largest library of British drama in mainland China, providing users with over 350 hours of BBC Studios’ drama series, such as Inside No.9, The Durrells and Les Misérables among others.

“We are delighted to introduce these distinctive series to the Chinese market through our ongoing collaboration. Our ambition is to be the number one platform for British drama, and we are committed to delivering the freshest content to Chinese users,” said Xie Ying, Youku TV series centre GM.

The dramas in this new deal are expected to launch on YouKu from February 2020.

Phil Hardman, SVP commercial operations and strategy, Asia at BBC Studios, said: “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.”

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