China’s Youku Tudou Plans to Make Movies from Popular Domestic Web IP

By Sahil Patel

Chinese video giant Youku Tudou has struck a series of deals to accelerate the development of new feature films based on popular IP incubated the web.

Through its feature-film division Heyi Pictures, Youku Tudou has signed on six strategic partners, including “IP providers” Mopian and Readers Publishing and Media, “IP incubation partner” BlueVision Media, and “cross-screen” partners CCTV-6, AirMedia, and Fundamental Films.

“Chinese movie audiences are calling for more quality titles while the Chinese movie business demands a larger and continuous flow of new IPs,” said Allen Zhu, SVP of Youku Tudou and CEO of Heyi Pictures, in a statement. “By working with prominent partners across different domains, Heyi Pictures is building an open platform to develop stronger IPs across multiple screens to bring to these audiences.”

For instance, Heyi Pictures is now Mopian’s exclusive internet partner for web-to-film development. Described as an “internet novel organization,” Mopian owns more than a dozen IPs and claims a readership of over 300 million. The first crop of titles to go into development will be popular ones at Qidian.com, including “Unlimited Terror,” “A Tale of the Dragon and Snake,” and “Yang God.” Each title has more than 50 million views on Qidian.com, according to the companies.

Similarly, Readers Publishing and Media runs a portfolio that includes eight subsidiary publishing houses and 13 magazines. Its library consists of more than 300 literary titles, which will also get the development treatment.

On the development and production track, Heyi Pictures will be aided by BlueVision.

As for distribution, that could come in many forms. For instance, CCTV-6 is China’s national channel for movies, AirMedia runs China’s largest airline advertising platform, and Fundamental Media operates screens and streaming in and around subways in China. Youku Tudou said Heyi Pictures will work with the three companies to determine the “optimal distribution” for the movies, which could include the Youku Tudou video platform itself as well as traditional theatrical releases.