Louise Duffy | 22-08-2013
The content licensing deal between Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), Lionsgate’s partner in Asia and Internet TV company YoukuTudou is off to a fast start as the TV series Orange is the New Black has generated nearly nine million views in its first six weeks in China and has already become one of Youku’s most watched Western dramas.
The deal granted Youku the exclusive premiere of Orange Is The New Black 24 hours after its US debut on Netflix.
In addition to Orange Is The New Black, Youku's advertising-supported VOD service is showcasing other Lionsgate television series such as Mad Men.
Wendy Reeds, CTE's executive vice president, content sales and distribution, said: "We are very excited to expand our partnership with Youku on films and television series, and Orange Is TheNew Black has gotten our latest content licensing deal off to a strong start. There is a tremendous buzz on the show worldwide and it is a testament to how the media business is changing globally, with the successful premiere of the show in China on a leading internet television company only 24 hours after it premiered online in the US on Netflix."
Xiangyang Zhu, chief content officer of YoukuTudou, said: "Presenting a show such as Orange Is The New Black is one step closer to our ultimate goal of building up one of the largest online video libraries in China with the best selection. We were thrilled to be able to show the latest hit US television series almost the same day as when American audiences got to enjoy it, and we’re delighted with the results so far. We’re always on the lookout for great content to wow our 400 million viewers."
Orange Is The New Black is a comedic drama series created by Jenji Kohan, creator of the hit comedy Weeds, and produced by Lionsgate Television. The 13-episode series is based on the best-selling memoir Orange Is The New Black: My Year In a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman. The show revolves around the experiences of Piper, a happily-engaged PR executive, after she is sentenced to minimum security prison for a decade-old offence.
The series premiered in the US on Netflix on 11 July and has already been renewed by Netflix for a second season. It debuted on Youku on 12 July, and Youku has also licensed the exclusive online VOD rights to the second and all subsequent seasons.
Lionsgate is partnered in CTE with Saban Capital Group and Astro’s Celestial Pictures. CTE exclusively sells Lionsgate's content in Greater China and Southeast Asia and also represents the studio's television content and film library in Japan and Korea.